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Backs new health plan

Dear Editor,

This week the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled a major health care reform bill, with the Senate soon to follow with its own version.

As Congress moves toward a final bill to send on to the president, it's crucial that citizens make their voices heard. Otherwise the health care industry will almost certainly render reform ineffectual.

Some proposed alternatives to the current system, including single-payer and President Obama's less sweeping "public option," are enormously threatening to the health care giants for obvious reasons: They stand to lose some of the disproportionate profits they unconscionably reap on the backs of sick and economically depressed Americans.

The Washington Post reports that industry lobbyists are spending around

$1.4 million a day to try to derail the president's reforms.

Wendell Potter, a former CIGNA insurance vice president turned whistle-blower, told journalist Bill Moyers the other night on public TV: "...the health care industry will pull out all the stops they can ... to try to scare people into thinking that embracing a public health insurance option would lead down the slippery slope toward socialism ... putting a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor."

But, Potter points out, we already have bureaucrats between us and our doctors. These bureaucrats are beholden to the same profit-driven Wall Street investors who have brought the nation to the brink of fiscal collapse. I'll take my chances with the bureaucrats employed by "we the people."

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley has estimated that 119 million Americans would "shift from private coverage to the government plan" if one were available. He's against it. But 76 percent of Americans now poll in favor of some sort of public plan. Clearly we need to turn up the volume of this discussion.