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Your Views: Several key steps could help cut US health costs
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I am writing with respect to the Aug. 27 column by Harold Lott. It follows the pattern of most of the health care debate, long on generalities and short on specifics.

To my way of thinking, there are several aspects of the proposed health care program that have not achieved the prominence they deserve without enumerating all the negative sagas one can find on either side of the discussion. Whatever the outcome, these point must be resolved.

While the western world, for the most part, had universal health care, not one of those countries can defend their own national borders. We, the United States, do it for them. Health care is achieved at the expense of decimating national defense. A nation cannot afford both.

Heath care is prohibitively expensive. It becomes impossible to give citizens the choice of private or public care. It requires the participation of all citizens to fund the new program. That said, in the future, only the very wealthy would be able to support the program and still continue to enjoy the superior care that many average Americans now enjoy.

People quote the World Health Organization report listing the U.S. 36th on the list of overall health care in the world. No one mentions that the same report lists the U.S. first in quality and timeliness of health care. We rate the low position in the report, not because of the poor care, but because of the effect our lifestyle and our physical condition.

The U.S. is responsible for 90 to 95 percent of all the advances in medical equipment and procedures in the world. How much money is allocated to research in Canada, Sweden, France, etc? They can barely keep their health programs afloat as it. The truth be known, they take advantage of the U.S.

Using drugs as an example, all Western nations sell drugs to their population at lower cost than we pay, while we currently pay for the drugs and the research. Where will the funds come from in the future?

The current legal system allows for establishing an extremely high value on human life. Right or wrong, it has led to a whole new health support industry. A doctor’s need to "protect his back" subjects patient to substantially more added value health care than is warranted, driving costs sky high.

Three areas worth consideration: abolish tort, overuse and establish clinic.

The first be accomplished by law; the second begins with family education and higher deductibles. The third may already be on the way.

Consider this: if emergency rescue workers and military medics have the skills to administer and prolong the life of seriously injured individuals, why can’t nurses staff private clinics for any mundane health service required? This reduces the current overload on hospitals and doctors, saving big dollars.

I am a Canadian and an American, with children in both countries, content to stay in Georgia, though saddled with the added expense of costly U.S. health care.

Spencer Balmer
Flowery Branch

Local shops should improve service to keep customers
I am a consumer who believes in spending my money in the town in which I live. During these difficult economic times, why would any business employ people who drive away potential customers?

That happened to my fiancee at a clothing store on Main Street. She was stopping in different stores, looking for a semi-formal dress. Upon asking one store’s salesperson about dresses, that very person turned her back on my fiance and answered her negatively that they did not have what she was looking for.

Can you imagine the gall? To actually turn your back on a customer and tell that customer you can’t help them?

I hope the business owners on Main Street will take this to heart: We will spend our money elsewhere. Train your people to not drive away your business. And if you don’t care enough to train your people what customer service really means, then you deserve nothing less than to go out of business, hopefully to make room for a company who knows how to treat potential customers.

Eric Hull