Show the plumber some respect; he and I both want choice in health care

I take exception to the sentiment expressed in your Sept.16 "Letters" section by the LaRiviere's (Michel & Terry) of Black Mountain.

I find it ironic that they fancy themselves as "free thinkers," yet they are inclined to refer to someone who possesses a difference of opinion as "stupid." They are certainly entitled to their opinion regarding this (or any) matter, but to use this type of language to describe someone in a public forum is ignominious.

We all agree that our health-care system has some serious issues that must be addressed. I share the LaRiviere's belief that abuse by insurance companies is among the most detestable of these ailments. I also believe that people should have a choice in how they access health care. If they are in a financial position to procure private health insurance, then they should be able to do so. For people who simply cannot afford private insurance, then it makes sense for there to be a low-cost, government-provided option. I would love to see the big insurance companies forced to compete with the federal government and accept applicants with preexisting conditions!

However, the key word here in this matter is "choice." Perhaps that was what the LaRiviere's plumber was concerned about losing. Maybe using the word "freedom" was a bit melodramatic, but isn't that ultimately what choice is? I am aware that the current proposal does not constitute a government takeover of the health-care system, but allowing the government more and more influence will ultimately lead in that direction.

As thankful as the LaRiviere's are for all the government-run organizations they mentioned, I am confident they are also thankful for not having to hand over 40 percent or more of their annual income in exchange for these services. I would also submit that while frustrated with the bureaucracy of insurance companies, they are content not to wait six months to a year for diagnostic imaging (MRI/CAT) or for a reservation in the operating room (cited from a hospital administrator in Toronto). 

… [Whatever the reasons for the plumber's] position, it should be respected. If someone wants to disagree with him in a public forum, they should have the class to do so in an intelligent and respectful manner.

— Christian Magallanes
Asheville

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