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Sat, Dec. 14

Letter: Currently under consideration

We've heard a lot about healthcare reform all summer long, from Sarah Palin's "death panels" to Republicans ranting that the new health plan is actually a secret code for killing granny. The president keeps telling Americans over and over what is in the new proposed legislation, but it seems to go in one ear and out the other for most people.

For Republicans, Democrats and inattentive bystanders, here is what is being considered in the current healthcare plan:

• Keep the healthcare you have if you so desire; continue to see the doctor of your choice.

• The plan equitably shares costs and contains costs between the public, large and small businesses, and government, and enables small businesses (under 50 employees) to afford to provide healthcare for its employees.

• It increases the quality of care for all Americans and reforms the insurance market so that you never lose your coverage. The plan keeps what works in healthcare and repairs what's broken.

• It forces private plans to be more competitive on both price and quality.

• Tax credits would be given to citizens at or below three times the federal poverty line, on a sliding scale, based on income and what you can afford.

• This plan specifically prohibits government funding of healthcare for illegal immigrants and for abortion services.

• It pays for, but does not mandate, voluntary discussions with your doctor about what level of end-of-life care you want (private insurance does not currently pay for these discussions).

• Under this plan, it would be illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions or to cancel coverage when you become ill or injured.

• The plan pays for preventive care, such as cancer screenings (prevention is cheaper than treatment).

• Finally, the plan increases communication and cooperation between hospitals, clinics and doctor's offices to reduce overhead, contain costs and improve quality of care.

What's not to love about this plan? For conservatives it has fiscal restraints, and denies illegal immigrants health care and bans government funded abortions. For Democrats it offers universal coverage to almost everyone and brings health care up to date.

So why are Republicans, insurance and pharmaceutical companies and the medical monopoly fighting this new plan tooth and nails.

Ron Lowe

Nevada City, Calif

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