Fix Health Care Now

Dr. Mark Green's reasonable plea for health-care reform ["Rational Reform," Letters, Aug. 6, 2009] seems to be countered by cant, rant, and rude behavior by some at "town hall meetings" around the country. As my pappy used to characterize it, they cast "more heat than light" on this critical debate. Some of these folks might better grade themselves than the president and Congress.

There are more cogent ways than thin tweets, biased blogs, and angry ads to educate yourself about merits of the legislation that is being developed. Non-partisan, balanced websites make it possible to follow the complexities. Check out the Kaiser Family Foundation's comparative digest of proposals of the main bills kept right up-to-date as changes occur (kff.org) and AARP's sites (aarp.org and healthactionnow.org).

Health-care reform is not socialized medicine, and it does not mean rationed care or the government making life-and-death decisions for you. Reform will not hurt Medicare, nor will it be too expensive. The president and Congress have committed to producing legislation that will be paid for and not saddle our children and grandchildren with debt. But in the past seven years, families with Medicare and employer-based health coverage have seen their premiums nearly double. If we don't fix health care, that's sure to happen again in the next seven years.

One in three Americans say someone in their family skipped pills, postponed or cut back on needed medical care because of cost. Nearly 50 million of our citizens are uninsured for health care, and employers struggle to pay for health-care costs. Medically related bankruptcies rise, and government spending on health programs is rising so rapidly that it jeopardizes other priorities. We can't afford not to fix health care now

William C. Schall

Knoxville