Greg Binsfeld: Health care reform

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— I rarely go to the blogs after reading the letters in the Sunday Steamboat Pilot & Today. I avoid them because it seems the anonymity allows for lower concern with how people express themselves. In fact, while I have seen some improvement with changes in policy of the newspaper, I still see some writers that border on being rude. I very much respect those that attach their names.

Last Sunday, I read a letter by Linda Lewis on health care reform. Whether a person agrees with her or not, she should get credit for politely stating her position and having the courage to sign her name. I decided to check the responses on the Pilot Web site.

It reinforced what I already know. People from both sides of this historic issue have a lot of emotion attached, and it is seems very unlikely any minds will be changed. Some people love President Barack Obama while others view him as a bad president. This seems to be the way of our current political system. I do believe people from both sides of the issue have the same love of their country and this has to be the great common denominator.

I have to wonder if any compromise is possible with such emotion attached. I would make the following suggestion: People from both sides of the issue should spend more time studying the basis for the other side. It is important to seek news and information not just with those sources that you agree with. If your beliefs are strong, they will not be shaken, and you might be surprised at what you learn. You may gain an understanding and respect even though your view does not change. I suggest staying away from extremists who express their views in rude and sarcastic ways. There are plenty of bright, well-spoken people from each side.

People who know me already are aware of my stand on this issue, but that is not the purpose of this letter. Where is the great compromise out there? I have been thinking hard about this and with neither side willing to budge, it does not offer much room for true negotiating.

I will offer one idea I have been considering: Would it be possible to regulate health care like we do utilities? Commissions could set rules about getting all people covered, leaving the current system in place. Price increases should also be controlled by the commission just like our natural gas delivery. There are likely many flaws in this idea, but at least it is a try. This idea is far from what I consider the best plan, but people on the other side of the issue would likely feel the same. Let's work together as Americans and not miss this moment in time to improve health care in the U.S. Polite replies only, please.

On a final note, I listened to an interview of TR Reid on Fresh Air at the National Public Radio Web site. He traveled the world looking at the best and worst of different health care systems. It is worth a listen.

Greg Binsfeld

Steamboat Springs

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