Readers write about whether or not the US should consider universal healthcare, lending money only to those who can demonstrate their ability to pay it back, and why Israel should give up its occupied lands.
Is universal healthcare a good idea for the US?
Regarding the Jan. 7 Opinion piece, "Universal healthcare and the waistline police": This is an excellent commentary. However, it's also important to understand that universal healthcare can lead to unwanted medical surveillance. That's because if policymakers combine compulsory health insurance for all with mandatory electronic medical records for all, everyone will end up becoming part of a nationally linked medical surveillance system, like it or not.
Clearly, there are better ways to lower costs and increase access to healthcare for those unable to pay for it, such as providing tax breaks to providers who offer free care for the needy.
The one-size-fits-all universal approach to health policy should be reconsidered. Instead, policymakers should consider a variety of reform options that take into account the many different approaches to healthcare in the US.
This commentary is just a fearmongering false dilemma. You could just as easily say that if we let the government take care of road building and maintenance, it will take away our cars and trucks and make us drive mopeds to save on wear and tear. Or you could just as easily say that if we let the government run our public parks, it will take our dogs away because dogs are known for defecating on the grass.
A simple way to shift a portion of the cost burden onto people who eat unhealthy food is a 10-cents-per-gallon tax on corn syrup. Or even better, quit subsidizing corn and move that money to subsidize fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Lend money to those with incomes
In regard to the Dec. 22 article, "Obama weighs a supersized stimulus plan": The increase of the money supply via the extension of credit has a positive effect on the economy if that money is loaned to people and businesses that have a positive cash flow.
That is, a source of income that will enable the borrower to repay the principal and interest as agreed. This economic principle has been ignored by credit institutions until very recently.