Capitalism won’t solve health care
Re “Will anyone be better off with Trumpcare?” “Health plan will begin a new era of American carnage” “Capitalism is needed to replace Obamacare” (Forum, March 12): Thanks for two thoughtful op-eds, and one simplistic ramble. Sunday’s op-eds by health professionals detail harms to Californians should the Republicans’ health bill pass.
An accountant’s op-ed wisely recommends people be told, upfront, prices for treatment, but repeats naive assertions about capitalism. Capitalism works for widgets, but deregulation and dollar-constrained choice won’t help healthcare.
People with life-threatening illness can’t choose what they can’t afford. Citizens lack the expertise about treatments and costs. Good free-market outcomes depend on equal information access among buyers and sellers, and is impossible in healthcare.
Capitalist competition fails for necessities. That’s one reason electricity must be highly regulated. Hospital billboards show caring images, and high-tech acquisitions, not prices. If to compete each hospital must own the latest diagnostic device when one could serve the entire region, we all pay more. Cooperation, not capitalism, cuts costs and improves coverage.
William J. Knox, Davis
Deregulation won’t fix health care
The op-ed by Edward Joseph Pierini Jr. arguing for the invisible hand of Adam Smith’s capitalism to rise to the occasion and fix our broken healthcare system made me shake my head in dismay. We cannot leisurely shop and find the correct price of service when an appendix is bursting or an arm is broken.
Sadly, conservative GOP members of Congress believe that we will suddenly have healthcare for all if we just get the government bureaucracy and red tape out of the way long enough for that good time-tested American capitalism to kick in.
The same good old system brought us the Savings and Loan crisis in the 1980s, the Junk Bond leveraged buyout crisis, the dotcom bubble and collapse, the Enron implosion and associated accounting scandals, and finally the housing implosion that we are still dealing with.
Our good old American capitalism system stopped making things better for society in general a long time ago. All it seems to do now is make up stories that only serve to enrich a few while the rest of us deal with aftermath of the story when it implodes.
Mike Holzer, Roseville
Health care is not a commodity
The main assumption of writer Edward Joseph Pierini Jr. is that health care is another commodity, like the shoes you buy for your kids or the used car you’d like to buy.
So the fix for your recently diagnosed cancer is to spend what time you can to find and try out an oncologist among those that your profit-driven insurance provider offers. And because your salary means that you have had to purchase insurance with a very high deductible, you have to consider whether to suck up the deductible or provide food for your family.
And because the pharmaceutical makers are part of the capitalist arrangement, their CEOs will not permit the prices they charge to be contained by negotiating. The price you pay for medications to stem the cancer requires you to pay the price out-of-pocket. The medications, like the care you receive, are simply a commodity having no more significance than a pair of shoes.
Repealing a program that has brought affordable and accessible health care to millions of families and individuals simply because the benefits were not delivered to a smaller number does mean that changes need to be made.
What changes? Figure it out and get it fixed, but don’t expect that folks whose actions are guided by profit will make it universally accessible and affordable. Single-payer will.
Robert Jensen, Fair Oaks
One way to cut health care costs
Edward Joseph Pierini Jr. writes that he and his wife pay 71 percent more for health insurance than four years earlier.
This argument is frequently used by opponents to the Affordable Care Act. I agree. So have mine. But they also increased dramatically year after year long before the ACA was implemented.
In my own case however, after I lost my job in 2008, my insurance rates were actually 0. Why? Because no one would cover me due to pre-existing conditions. Do we really want to go back to those days?
Bill Child, Fair Oaks
Unlike Trump, Obama did care
The difference between Obamacare and Trumpcare starts with the realization that Obama really cared.
Carol Wall, Lincoln
Music will cure what ails Old Sac
Re “Mayor wants more splash at Old Sac—maybe a new name” (Page 1B, March 12): The answer to the revitalization of Old Sac and downtown is probably staring us right in the face. Music.
What has the retail industry known for years to keep their customers happy? What has tied humanity together since the beginning of time? Music. Mayor Darrell Steinberg is looking for something to kick-start activity in downtown Sacramento.
Music already has been successful with concerts in Chavez Park during the summer. The Crocker had a very successful Jazz run in their courtyard. Perhaps we need to make it easier for busking street musicians to bring some life to the ambiance. Music can do that, and cheaply. It seems so obvious.
Frank Casanova, Sacramento
Old Sacramento needs a new name
Old Sacramento can be so much more than it is. Fortunately, there are widely recognized examples of successful riverfront transformations to steer us in the right direction.
However, revenue is the name of the game and all the clever monikers and eye-catching attractions in the world won’t guarantee that businesses in Old Sacramento would benefit from any gains in foot traffic.
People will seek out and spend money on whatever makes them happy, full, or inspired. Food, drink, and good music come to mind.
Why not use this area to enhance Sacramento’s identity as a destination for food lovers? Have local wineries put on a wine tasting accompanied by pop-up versions of area restaurants with a variety of music to set the tone. And I agree the “old” in “Old Sac” has to go. “Historic Waterfront Sacramento” comes to mind.
Rick Bartlett, Fair Oaks
City of Trees, now and forever
Re “Hey Forktown, what’s for dinner, a mystery meal of Sacramento identity?” (Marcos Breton, March 12): When I describe Sacramento to my friends from The Big Apple or elsewhere, I always refer to Sacramento’s canopy of trees and its two great rivers, never its vegetables. It’s the City of Trees for me.
William J. Hughes, Sacramento
A city’s motto means little
The idea that a city’s motto, official or otherwise, has any bearing on its identity has no basis in fact. New York, probably the world’s most famous city, has no official motto. Does that mean it has no identity? Los Angeles also has no official motto, although in 1995 it briefly promoted the slogan “Together We’re the Best,” in the wake of the Rodney King riots. There may be 12 people on the planet who know this.
San Francisco’s motto is “Gold in Peace, Iron in War.” Did you know this? San Diego is “Semper Vigilans.” Didn’t know that one either, right? Does it make any difference how you feel about those cities?
Steve Cannon, Sacramento
The City of High Parking Fees
The sign on the water tower off Interstate 5 can be changed at any time and is a metaphor for any form of life, so we will get used to it. Change is good. And progress is good. Any food that’s produced for market eventually goes to a fork, or maybe to chopsticks. Our city slogan will change with the times.
And now that Sacramento, with its arena, is a world class city (not quite Paris), you can’t go downtown to a restaurant or a concert without having to pay-world class parking fees, not to mention the $200 million that came out of taxpayers’ hide to build the arena. But it’s so luddite to criticize progress, and, if there’s big money to be made, it’s unstoppable.
Ralph Hanson, Sacramento