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- December 28th, 2009
Seek Medicare for all
The United States, the wealthiest country on earth, is the only
industrialized nation that has not accepted the moral imperative to
provide health care for all of its citizens.
Because we haven’t, tens of thousands of Americans die each year, our
infant mortality rate is double that of the other industrialized
nations, thousands of uninsured people rely on hospital emergency
departments for care which could be delivered better in an office
setting at lower cost, and overwhelming health care costs are the
leading cause of personal bankruptcy.
We have experience with various plans; private health insurance with
overhead costs exceeding 25%, HMOs and PPOs with designated care
providers, tax-supported government run systems such as military and
veterans clinics and hospitals, and Medicare. Medicare is a
single-payer government insurance plan, not a government run
(socialized) health care system. It relies on a separate private
health care delivery system, allows free choice of physicians and
hospitals, has no restrictions for pre-existing conditions and has
overhead costs of less than 5%.
There is no free lunch and no free health care. We pay twice as much
as other industrialized nations for health care and receive less in
return. But if Medicare was available to all citizens (a single-payer
option), the purchasing power could dramatically decrease drug and
medical provider costs. And if individuals or employers paid their
premiums or taxes (different names; same money) to a system such as
Medicare rather than for private insurance, savings from lower
overhead costs alone would be enormous. We could have high quality
care and add nothing to the national debt.
If you like your present insurance coverage, keep it. But if you want
good care for all of our citizens at lower cost, encourage your
congressmen to insist on a single-payer option.

William R. Olsen M.D. • Northwest Michigan Cares

Concerts at the Dennos
I would like to respond to Rick Coates recent article in the Express:
“Where are the Concerts?” (12/14)
Let me first of all reinforce what Michael Curths from Inside Out
Gallery wrote last week . There is a rich array of concert
opportunities in this community for which many other communities of
our size in the state would be envious.
The Dennos Museum Center for the last 18 years has brought some of the
finest concert performances the region has seen and offered them in a
hall that is comfortable, with great acoustics and as anyone who
attends our concerts regularly knows – the freedom to get up and dance
when the mood is right – indeed yours truly, the producer, may insist
upon it!
People like Jeff Haas brought jazz, and Seamus Shinners folk and
blues, to the stage in our formative years and in recent years we have
made a concentrated effort to enrich the entertainment scene with a
blend of world music from across the globe offering groups
representing the great music of Africa’s broad cultural landscape to
Japan, Mongolia and Beijing. Music that is performed by outstanding,
award-winning talent, that is accessible, entertaining and often
stunningly beautiful.
Ask anyone who attends our concerts or the musicians who perform here;
Milliken is a great place to perform and to hear great music. Yes,
there may be a desire for and place for, the $30-$50,000 bands in the
area; that will not be Milliken. However, I am confident your readers
will often leave Milliken feeling they had a $30,000 experience.
Finally, I would strongly encourage your readers to support and engage
with the venues that work to provide this rich cross-section of unique
and diverse music for the region, doing so will help assure that these
offerings for the region will continue to be there.
I thank Rick for his efforts to cover and address the concert scene in
this region. I look forward to being part of his planned conversation.

Eugene A. Jenneman, Director
Dennos Museum Center

A story of love
I am writing this letter in regards to your article “Growing Up
Quietly.” I have had the utmost privileged to knowing the Hoxsie
family for over 12 years. My brother is married to Barbara
Hoxsie-Moore. The Hoxsies are the epitome of graciousness and love.
They have welcomed our family into theirs. Tom senior and Ruth are
two of the most wonderful people I have ever met. I respect them so
much. The whole family is loving and generous and probably the nicest
people you will ever meet. They have truly enriched my life for the
better. The Hoxsie “kids” are truly wonderful people as well. I could
not have asked for a better sister-in-law. Barb I love you and thank
God for you everyday. Thank you so much for sharing their story. I
love them!

Dana Moore • Lake City

Health reform myths
Myth #1: Many people think that European-style socialized medicine
cannot work in our capitalistic system. The fact is not all European
medicine is socialistic. Most wealthy countries rely on private sector
mechanisms to provide and/or pay for health care. While some countries
practice socialized medicine, many others counties rely on the private
sector to provide services. Some countries‘ health services are paid
for by a government insurance plan, while others are paid for by
private insurers.
Myth #2: Europeans ration care with waiting lines and limited choice.
In many developed countries, people have quicker access to care and
more choice than Americans do. Germany and Switzerland allow one to
sign up for any insurance company (Germany has over 200 insurance
plans). In France and Japan, one does not get a choice of insurance
companies; you have to use the one designated for your company or your
municipality. You do get a total choice of providers.
Myth #3: European health care systems are wasteful. It seems natural
to Americans that free enterprise and profit-driven markets are the
most efficient way to provide goods and services. So it’s not
surprising that Americans generally believe that the U.S.–style
medicine must be the most efficient way to provide health care. But
this too turns out to be a myth. All other systems in the developed
world, public and private are more frugal than ours.
American for-profit health insurance companies have the highest
administrative costs in the world. This is the major reason why we
spend more for health care -- and get less in return -- than any other
developed country.
Myth #4: Health insurance companies have to be cruel. Our insurance
companies are allowed to refuse coverage due to preexisting conditions
– denying the very people who need coverage the most. On the other
hand, foreign health insurance companies have to insure all applicants
regardless of any previous disease or accident. They can’t cancel
coverage as long as you pay your premiums. They are required to pay
any claim submitted by a doctor or hospital.
Based on the above, perhaps we can learn from our European friends how
to design a health care system that provides universal coverage and is
less expensive than our system.

Ronald Marshall • Petoskey

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