To the Editor:
Re “Second Judge Deals Blow to Health Care Law” (front page, Feb. 1):
For the American public, assuming responsibility for one’s own health should be among the many challenges ascribed to any government health care system.
Why shouldn’t health insurance become mandatory? Government outlays for health care seem to be mandatory, even though individuals abuse their health at the public’s expense.
Smokers, alcohol abusers, motorcycle drivers who eschew helmets, those who don’t exercise and so on cost insured, responsible citizens who try to safeguard their own health billions of dollars in taxes from which they derive no benefits whatsoever.
Accountability can be worked into the health care system by creating a graduated fee structure for health care premiums, lowest for the responsible citizens, who can document their efforts, even if they are beset by illness — for example, cardiovascular disease or diabetes — despite their best efforts, and highest for those who force others to pay for their health care either through neglect or abuse.
Warren E. Enker
New York, Feb. 1, 2011The writer is vice chairman of the department of surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center.•
To the Editor:
I’d like to make three points about the health care debate and the Republican approach to health care reform in response to your Jan. 25 editorial “What Comes After No?”:
First, it was not only Republicans who voted for both repealing and replacing the health care law. Three Democrats voted for repeal, and 14 voted to take steps to replace the law.
Second, the Republican alternative was estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to lower premium costs — by as much as $3,200 for millions of families compared with the increases expected under the new law.
We lowered premiums while providing critical patient protections, like ensuring that people with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable coverage. That’s what happens when you don’t put the government in charge — prices go down.
Third, we’ll write laws the way they are supposed to be written — with the direct input of the American people, small-business owners and large employers. They won’t be developed behind closed doors by Washington politicians.
Washington, Jan. 26, 2011The writer, a Michigan Republican, is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.