Letters to the Editor for July 29, 2011

By Baker City Herald Readers July 29, 2011 05:43 pm

Government insurance is efficient
To the editor:
In a recent letter to the editor, Pete Sundin accuses promoters of a single-payer health care system of having a “child-like faith” that government can provide health care efficiently. After all, didn’t the Defense Department years ago pay $200 for a toilet seat and $500 for a hammer?
Citing those two examples is, of course, not the whole truth. As Paul Harvey would say, “Now for the rest of the story”:
Steve Kelman, Harvard professor and former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement, did a study to determine who gets the best price for off-the-shelf products like computers: Fortune 500 companies or government? The study concluded that “overall the government does quite well.”
Also, Sundin leaves out another part of the story. The U.S. already has a single-payer health care system. It’s called Medicare. 
And Americans love their super-efficient Medicare system, which spends only 3 percent to 4 percent of its budget processing claims, whereas corporate insurance companies spend 20 percent to 30 percent of our premium dollars for advertising and profits in addition to processing claims.  
Inefficiency in the corporate health care system is what Sundin should be comparing to the Defense Department’s notorious $500 hammer.
Gary Dielman
Baker City

Medicare, Social Security work quite well for me
To the editor:
Just read Mr. Sundin’s letter in the most recent Herald. I have no idea how old you are Mr. Sundin but I have one word for you, Medicare. It is the most efficient program the feds run. It provides medical care to those of us over 65 and it does it without waste or fraud. Nonetheless, I prefer its effectiveness over the private insurance I carry. I have found that Social Security works well also.
Iva Mace
Baker City
Let property owners do one-time meter reads
To the editor:
Time is money. Time is a valuable commodity.
The Baker City employees are well-trained and highly skilled. They are compensated justly for their skills.
Why are we using city employees to read unscheduled meter reads? It’s a waste of time and dollars.
An unscheduled meter read is a one-off read. A one-off read may be done for a move in, move out, escrow or house sale.
For over 20 years the city of Seattle has allowed property owners, managers and tenants to read their own meters for these one-off reads. The online service has been available for over 10 years. It is easy to use and convenient.
By shifting the burden of the meter reads to property owners, managers and tenants, city employees won’t have their work schedules disrupted, creating costly delays to its customers.
Paul Dunkak
Baker City