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Health Care: The Price of Reform

In "Someone Must Pay for Health Reform" (News, June 1), I argued that universal health insurance in the U.S. could be funded only by raising taxes, lowering payments to providers, or rationing care. Many readers charged me with ignoring a single-payer solution. My response: That, too, comes at a price—not just higher taxes, most likely, but also the loss of some 2 million insurance industry jobs. There is no free lunch and no free health-care reform. —By Catherine Arnst

I beg to differ with your assessment that there are only three options. Move to a single-payer system, eliminate insurance company profits and high overhead costs, and we can cover the almost 50 million uninsured Americans. For most people, not paying insurance premiums would more than compensate for slightly increased taxes. And not providing health coverage will be good for American businesses. It's a huge money drain. Under single-payer, companies will be able to withdraw from this cost spiral and focus on what they do best.

Jennifer Dunkle

FORT COLLINS, COLO.

When I'm paying $600 a month for coverage, that's a tax. I have never met a Canadian or European who would trade their health insurance.

Screen name: Joanne

The concentration of health care into giant organizations is a major part of the problem, just as it is in banking. ... We need to start by making Medicare the basic payment system, with private insurance for things like bypass surgery and expensive cancer treatments.

Screen name: Sam

The article misses the elephant in the room: tort reform. Fear of litigation leads to "defensive medicine"—expensive tests and procedures that do not benefit patients but are used simply to shield medical professionals from lawsuits.

Amy Chai

ELLICOTT CITY, MD.

A Balance of Power at Bank of America

It's disturbing that Bank of America (BAC) CEO Ken Lewis considers the loss of his board chairmanship a "humbling experience" ("Can Ken Lewis Keep His Job?" News, June 1). Is he paying any attention to shareholder voting trends?

While a vote to separate board and corporate leadership positions may sometimes reflect disappointment in a specific chairman, it is primarily a vote for more balanced corporate governance.

Gisela Moriarty

PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIF.

Social Media: Brace Yourself for More Advertising

The distressing outcome of the data-mining efforts described in "What Is a Friend Worth?" (Special Report, June 1) is that we will all have more ads crammed down our throats.

Rick Cunnington

ORO VALLEY, ARIZ.

So we are now "subjects of lab study," and our privacy does not exist anymore, just to feed the growing greed of some few marketers and companies....Very interesting world we are building.

Screen name: Jose

The Best Teachers Have Been There, Done That

"The Doctorate Is In" (BTW, June 1) succinctly explains what's wrong with our colleges and universities.

When will academia learn that people's accomplishments can make them more valuable teachers than a piece of paper can?

Robert Cole

BRONXVILLE, N.Y.


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