Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Side effects of single payer

To the editor:

People who sing the praises of "single payer" health care programs seldom tell us of their unpleasant side effects. One is that governments running these programs use rationing of health care as an attempt to control costs.

In Canada, for instance, each area is allotted only a certain number

of maternity beds. Recently a Vancouver woman had to deliver her baby

in Edmonton, Alberta, (700 miles away across the Rocky Mountains), as

that was the closest available maternity bed. A minor inconvenience in

her case, but health care rationing can have more serious effects.

Say your doctor tells you that you need a hip replacement. "Don't

worry," he assures you, "It's covered. However, since your condition is

not life-threatening, you have to get in line. We'll get back to you in

six to eight months. In the meantime, here are some pain pills so you

can at least hobble around."

As a consequence, many Canadians who can afford to, forego their "free"

medical care in Canada and instead come to the United States, where

they pay for it out of their own pocket. One such person made the news

recently, as he was the Prime Minister of Newfoundland. He went to

Florida for his health care.

Another way governments with single payer health care systems attempt

to control costs is to scrimp on advanced medical equipment. Canada has

far fewer of these per capita than we do, and they tend to be the

older, less-effective models, another reason why Canadians come here

for their medical treatment.

Tax rates in countries with single payer health care programs are

significantly higher than they are for us, another unpleasant side

effect of socialized medicine. (In Sweden, for instance, the government

takes over half of your income in taxes.) So to keep their citizens

healthy, those governments take a healthy bite out of your wallet, but

then deliver an inferior sort of health care. No thanks!

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Democrats are socialists? Not so

To the editor:

My Republican friends often tell me accusingly that the Democrats are

all socialists, as if this were some mortal sin. Well, I wish.

But they're very mistaken. I know a few socialists, and I think I know

a bit about socialism. Enough, I believe, that I can say with assurance

that my GOP friends are off target by a foot or two.

Mr. Obama, I think we will all agree, is the head of the line, Democrat

No. 1. Now when the sky fell a couple years ago, did he hurry into the

Oval Office like a good socialist, to fashion a safety net to throw to

all those people about to be thrown out of their homes by the banks?

Nope. He was too busy writing fat checks for the banks and insurance

companies. But he did get together with Mr. Biden, another averred

socialist, to start setting up a socialist public works program

replacing rotten bridges and stuff like that to make a few million jobs

to bail out all the newly disemployed who need groceries just as often

as bankers do? No, he didn't do that either because he first had to

extend the Bush tax giveaways for the billionaires, before they expired.

Socialists do tend to vote with the Demos. Maybe they hope someday the

Demo Party will be captured by the election of a president who is

"with" them. Unfortunately, this does not make the Democrats a

socialist party. It does explain how the Demo Party is divided into

"Big Ds" and "Little Ds". The "Big Ds" are sitting in Washington,

sucking up to the GOP and driving the Demo Party bus. The "Little Ds"

are the rest of us, the ones with socialistic ideas, sitting in the

back of the bus, providing the votes whenever the Demos win, and being

taken where we don't want to go.

But maybe if us Little Ds were driving the bus, the Demo Party might

resemble a socialist party as much as it does the GOP. And my

Republican friends might then be right after all.

But we are not, and they ain't.

Dan Martin

Baker City