Steve Chittock

Local health care premiums one of the highest in the state

Having lived in many countries where socialized medical care worked alongside private health insurance, I thank Molly Thompson Eicher ("Former local resident pays $54 for health care in Canada," July 11) for her letter and would like to add a few points of my own.

The naysayers lie to us about the waiting lines one can expect to endure if a public health scheme was put into action, and the high cost such a plan would impose on the taxpaying members of the public, just as they have mislead us about many other things including the cost of the Iraq war.

Remember our taxes pay the salaries and benefits our senators and Congress members enjoy, yet if you listen very closely to the arguments of those opposing a public health plan, you could almost believe their responsibilities are to the private health insurance and big pharmaceutical companies only.

Del Norte County is one of the poorest counties in California, but our health care premiums are among the highest for the state. We know that the private health insurance companies are spending $1.4 million per day, every day, to fight the president's plan; if they can afford to do that, they certainly can afford to reduce our premium rates. Should anyone still have reservations, please think about the peace of mind a public health option can give participants.

Call your Congressman Mike Thompson at (202) 225-3311, Senator Barbara Boxer at (202) 224-3553 and Senator Diane Feinstein at (202) 224-3841.

Tell them to put through a good strong, government administered health option guaranteeing a choice of plans, reducing costs and providing quality and affordable health care coverage for all Americans. This is about the country.

M.B. Jones,

Crescent City

We are drowning in our own waste at all levels

It's time to stop. Stop the welfare that's bleeding the working class: subsidized housing, medications, food, utility bills, etc. California is a destination welfare state. A majority of the multi-billion dollar deficit could be erased with a major overhaul of the welfare system. Require those on welfare to attend a certain number of hours of schooling per week (proof required) and urine tests to pick up their monthly checks. And just think, the welfare recipients might not like it and decide to move on to somewhere else. Or they could stay here and get a better education, straighten up their life, get a job and be productive instead of a leech.

Stop the legal deluge flooding our courts brought on by inmates in California prisons. Make the inmates (once again) civilly dead. Untold millions are spent in California courts and prisons at the taxpayer's expense providing legal services to criminals. They are in prison. Make it like one.

I'm a state worker. If Sacramento's going to balance the budget on the backs of those of us who work for the state, then every state worker (including the California Highway Patrol, any other state agency currently exempt and especially the California State Legislature) should also give up 15 percent of their pay. Why is it that the people that got us into this mess to begin with, our Legislature in Sacramento, don't take any cuts in pay and yet are the very ones that caused the problems and can't wait to vote themselves a raise to boot. They can't pass a budget, they can't get along and they really don't care. They're part of the "I've got mine" club and aren't too concerned about much else.

We are drowning in our own waste - at all levels. State entitlements have drained the financial resources of our infrastructure and our ever rising tax burdens are causing more people and businesses to pack up and leave.

Solution? Start at the top instead of the bottom with a major overhaul in Sacramento with our Legislature and work your way down to the local levels actually fixing what's broken on the way. We know this isn't going to happen, so take a moment daily to count your blessings or - what the heck - pack up and move to Idaho.

David Lee