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Why did the article “Insurance or phone, ‘Why is that the choice?’ ” focus on justifying the possession of a cellphone? [March 12, A11] The real issue is that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah — who chides low-income families for buying iPhones — apparently has no idea whatsoever of the cost of a health-insurance policy for a family.

The cellphone service mentioned in the article came to $100 a month. I would be very, very grateful if Rep. Chaffetz could point me in the direction of a health plan for a family of four that only costs $100 per month. Our own family health plan — purchased out of necessity on the individual health-plan market, as both my husband and I are self-employed — costs more than $1,500 per month, which is higher than the entire monthly income of Joana Delacruz, as mentioned in the article, and, of course, requires a very large annual outlay in deductibles and co-pays before we ever get a cent’s worth of benefits from it.

This is the real point of Chaffetz’s ignorant assertion, about on a level with the “let them eat cake” remark frequently attributed (probably in error) to Marie Antoinette.  Jacqueline Houston, Seattle


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The current health bill the Republicans have been discussing is not a health bill. It is a bill dedicated to reducing the deficit on the backs and shoulders of the most vulnerable of our citizens.

By reducing or eliminating the taxes on the elite who are currently covered by the ACA and who are currently helping foot the bill for Medicaid recipients, the Republicans have made sure that there are no funds to cover these most needy of our citizens with good quality health care, much less any health care.

The Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. Get a health-care plan that covers these folks first, then begin to increase the coverage for the others.  Elizabeth M. Williams, Seahurst


Is government-subsidized health care a right, or is it a privilege?

If it is a right, then is it a universal right? Or is it a right restricted to certain classes of persons, such as those over 65 or disabled? If government subsidized health care is a right belonging only to restricted classes, then what does that imply about arguments to expand or reduce benefits for these groups? And how should that right be delivered? Cost cannot be controlled if we maintain a fee-for-service system to deliver that right.

On the other hand, if government-subsidized health care is a privilege, then how do we determine which privileged classes receive benefits? Is there a rational test that can be applied to determine who receives the largesse of the government? Or is it simply lobbying and political influence that determine privilege? If it is a privilege, then cost control is not important.

Can we create a system that has aspects of both rights and privileges and maintains solvency?

If we determine state-by-state what the core beliefs are, then we will better be able to work together. – Frank Mitchell, M.D., retired, Seattle


Under the Republican draft American Health Care Act things don’t look that good, especially for retirees [“Republican answer to ACA is Bad News,” March 15, Opinion]. But the legislative system is actually working, and adjustments are in the wind.

Compare this history to that of former House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who demanded that President Obama’s 2,000-page Affordable Care Act had to be passed first and that only then could we actually read what was in it.

And as for the numbers game, do we recall that the 31 states that expanded Medicaid were on the hook to gradually cover the new costs after the first nine years of federal payments came to an end?

Does the press “get it” when President Donald Trump tweets that corrective action is needed this year to protect Americans from an imploding disaster? The choice is between imperfect markets to even less perfect government audacity.  Peter D. Beaulieu, Shoreline