Readers Write: The strong precedent for Obamacare; Waging peace with aid

Letters to the Editor for the December 9, 2013 weekly magazine:

Every other industrialized country has some type of national health-care system because it can't afford US-style medicine. And neither can America.

Accounts of good works Vietnam veterans are performing in Vietnam are heartening. US military personnel are increasingly proving the effectiveness of waging peace with humanitarian aid.

The strong precedent for 'Obamacare'

Regarding the Nov. 4 Briefing, "Rollout of 'Obamacare' ": Every other industrialized country has some type of national health-care system because it can't afford US-style medicine. US expenditures far exceed those of our economic peers (about 18 percent of gross domestic product), and medical bills are a major cause of personal bankruptcy. But medical outcomes are far worse compared with those in other countries.

There are only four basic types of medical systems: (1) government-run (US Army, Britain), (2) compulsory insurance with some subsidies (Obamacare, "Romneycare" in Massachusetts, Switzerland), (3) optional private insurance and tax dollars that pay for the poor in the emergency room, and (4) no care for those who can't pay. No country has ever been able to control costs, have good medical outcomes, or maintain a healthy productive workforce with those last two types of systems. All of the countries with superior medical outcomes and lower costs have either Type 1 or Type 2 – though many spent decades trying other options that failed.

In the end, I think the United States must end up with Obamacare as a health-care system, or something almost identical to it with a Republican name, because we can't afford the other options.

Charles Forsberg

Lexington, Mass.

Waging peace with humanitarian aid

Thank you for your excellent coverage in the Nov. 11 issue of the good works that Vietnam veterans are performing in Vietnam as part of the healing and relief from the challenges of a very difficult war. Accounts of such good work are heartening.

Readers should also know about the remarkable accomplishments of a growing number of Vietnam veterans from Ohio in conjunction with Rotary International. It is called The D.O.V.E. Fund (Development of Vietnam Endeavors), and details can be found at Clearly, US military personnel and veterans are increasingly proving the effectiveness of – and experiencing the fulfillment of – waging peace with humanitarian development.

Chuck Stocking

Perrysburg, Ohio

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