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Letters to the editor – Friday (8-21-09)

U.S. health care isn’t best, but it is most expensive
In response to the Aug. 20 letter from Bobby Lawrence titled “Do your research,” I, too, would encourage all Americans to research the systems used in other countries, as well as outcomes.
I take exception with Mr. Lawrence’s assessment that the U.S. has some of the best medical care in the world. In a variety of measurements, U.S. healthcare, while being the most expensive in the world as a percentage of GDP, ranks poorly in outcomes.
Our infant mortality rate is 46th best at 6.26 deaths per 1000 live births, Both Canada and the U.K., two countries Mr. Lawrence assert have systems that “do not work,” fared much better. In life expectancy, the U.S. is 50th, again much worse than Canada (8th) and the U.K. (36th). Both of these figures come from the CIA World Fact Book.
The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. health system 37th in the world. While U.S. spending as a percent of GDP is estimated to be 17.6 percent this year, the top ranked French health care system spends only 9.4 percent. Canada is also at 9.4 percent, and the U.K. 7.5 percent. These nations are getting better outcomes at significantly lower costs.
Not only do we need to control costs, we need to demand better outcomes. The fact that much poorer neighbors like Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic have better health systems is a poor reflection on the United States and our priorities.
Universal, single payer systems dominate the top of the rankings. Such a proven system in the U.S. should make us healthier, both physically and economically, and allow our businesses to be more competitive by not saddling them with health care costs that companies in other nations do not face.
Health reform, and not just insurance reform, is desperately needed in America.
ó Rod Goins
Salisbury
A wonderful Legion legacy
Wow! Rowan County’s Legion team was destined for greatness! Not only were the players tremendous in their deeds, coaches terrific in strategy management, but fans and parents left a wonderful legacy for fathers and mothers of children involved in sports.
I personally know a lot of the players and parents. As the father of an aspiring athletic son, Rowan County athletes and parents have left him and me, other adults, other athletes, with a mirror of how true sportsmen accomplish the dream. They’ve been fine examples of that loving bond of kinship that can happen with commitment and loyal dedication to athletic achievement and teamwork in the desire to be the best. I salute and honor you for the legacy you have left all of us!
ó Rick Mazza
Salisbury
Health care and history
History is repeating. Medicare and Social Security experienced the same resistance now being given the health-care bill. Both have been successful. It is said that both are broken. If Medicare is, it is because of fraud and mismanagement. A doctor told me once that Medicare was the first time the hospitals had ever been paid.
Social Security would be the most lucrative program we have ever had if the money had not been loaned out with no interest and never paid back. Why can’t this money be collected? Also, Social Security pays benefits it was never intended to pay. How sad it is that good programs are spoiled by greed and poor supervision.
The health-care bill would benefit many and anyone satisfied with the insurance they have, can keep it. How much money could be saved if those insured by the government went with the private sector and purchased their own health insurance? Maybe they would have some empathy for those who pay the large health insurance premiums and quit resisting this bill.
ó Beverley W. Monroe
Salisbury

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