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Thursday's Letters to the Editor

Hidden medical costs

EDITOR: The article about medical costs (“Specialist use sends medical costs up,” Jan. 19) is another example of how the medical-industrial complex is picking the pockets of every hardworking American. Where is the outrage?

Too many of us are pacified if fortunate enough to have employer provided medical insurance. However, this comes with the cost of lower real wage growth as employers pay ever higher premiums. Factoring in the reduction in state and federal services due to the costs of medical programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, the taxpayer is getting screwed.

Nonprofit providers haven't kept health care costs in check, and neither would a single-payer system (Medicare is single payer). The fee-for-service payment system is the major culprit. Unfortunately, too many powerful interest groups profit from the system, and we are a long way from changing it.

In the meantime, we should mandate that prior to any procedure, all medical providers (in non-emergency situations) must provide patients with a written true-faith estimate of all costs to be incurred, with the out-of-pocket costs clearly spelled out. The complexity and unpredictability of medicine should be no excuse to lead this country into financial ruin.

KURT DUNPHY

Santa Rosa

Missing justices

EDITOR: Lest you and your readers doubt for a moment the partisan bent of the current Supreme Court of the United States, please take note of those justices who chose not to attend the State of the Union speech by President Barack Obama.

Yes, you're right: Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas stayed home. What their absence conveyed to me was disrespect for the office of the presidency as well as their disagreement — in advance — of what Obama had to say. How sad.

KAREN KRESTENSEN

Santa Rosa

Myopic liberals

EDITOR: Dana Milbank needed 26 inches of column to point out his examples of the non-apologies of Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell and Glenn Beck (“I'm sorry — but it's not my fault.” Sunday). Do we ever wonder why the Washington Post and the writers of most progressive organizations are so myopic?

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