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Two retired docs give columnists a checkup

The contrast between the March 28 columns by Nick Coleman ("That reform sure doesn't go very far") and Katherine Kersten ("Obamacare: Part of the elitist plan") was interesting, with differences in tone, style and effect.

Coleman's column had an emotive, evocative tone, using negative stereotypes to ridicule anyone who might oppose universal health care. This was introduced with a single, personal case of his mother, who died of cancer, presumably prematurely for lack of very expensive medicine (although this was not clarified).

Conversely, Kersten's column sustained an historical, logical sequence of the development of the Progressive Movement and its goal to overhaul Americans' lives. The effects of this movement at home and abroad have been deleterious to those it was intended to elevate. It contradicts American principles of individual freedom and responsibility, limited government and free markets.

As a conservative, I acknowledge my bias. I oppose nationalizing any segment of our economy and replacing it with central bureaucratic control, particularly since health care accounts for about one-sixth of the economy. And it would intrude on the patient-doctor relationship.

As a retired physician, I am concerned about the United States, which has the highest-quality health care in the world. There is no case in which the quality of a country's medical care was improved, or even sustained, under nationalized health care. To quote Danny Williams, premier of Newfoundland, who went to Miami to have heart surgery rather than use Canada's socialized health care: "It's my health; it's my choice." But what if there is no longer an America to go to?

J. ROALD FUGELSTAD, Park Rapids, Minn.

As a retired family physician, I have followed the health care debate closely, hoping we finally might start to fix our broken system of health care delivery. People like me were called wealthy doctors by gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, who said in Lori Sturdevant's column ("Health care, a continuing topic? Count on it," March 28) that we should fix the problem by providing free care to the needy. And we were called elitists by columnist Katherine Kersten for even wanting to get affordable health care for everyone.

Mr. Emmer: I'm not wealthy, but I will gladly do free care to the needy if we can send the bill for their $200-a-day chemotherapy to you and Ms. Kersten.

Ms. Kersten: I would rather you call me a socialist then an elitist. That more closely fits my desire for universal health care.

But may I then call you both "worthiests," the party for the wealthy, healthy and white?


tea party

Political movement brews strong response

Thank you, Katherine L. Jumbe, for your excellent rebuttal ("Tea Partiers, this isn't a singalong," March 27) to the previous analysis of the Tea Party ("The making of a movement," March 21).

You've said in a lucid and thoughtful piece (along with the mostly unspoken anger and exasperation millions of us feel) just how wrongheaded and abusive the Tea Partiers' actions are.

You countered every issue with articulate, truthful grace. I applaud you.

Now if we can only convince the media that it's indifference, not coverage, that can diffuse their misplaced anger.


• • •

Katherine L. Jumbe writes that the Tea Partiers don't speak for every ordinary American.

Fair enough. But they do speak for plenty of us as a movement to preserve the freedoms that have been eclipsed in the socialized democracies of Western Europe. These are the same nations with declining birthrates, stagnant economies and perpetually high unemployment. Not to mention soaring tax burdens, including national sales taxes called the "value-added tax."

That's not who we are in America. We're entrepreneurs who love our economic freedom.

Did Jumbe miss the many polls that said people wanted Congress to either stop with health care reform entirely or start over? The polls didn't say every ordinary American, but they did reflect the overwhelming majority.


• • •

How come those of us who opposed the Bush administration when it was ginning up an excuse to invade Iraq were called "unpatriotic," but now it's somehow "patriotic" in the minds of Tea Party activists to oppose the Obama administration's efforts to get more people covered with health insurance?

Who gets to define what patriotism is?


• • •

I assume that the Tea Party caravan now making its way across the country toward Washington, D.C., will only be traveling on privately built highways.


thor nelson

His heroics are an inspiration to us all

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Officer Thor Nelson is a true hero ("DNR officer dives in to pull woman from river," March 26). Although the outcome of this event was unfortunate, the effort should not go unnoticed.

Nelson's spontaneous decision to rescue the drowning woman could have cost him his life due to the dangerous water temperature. However, he still felt it was necessary to help. Society often recognizes athletes and politicians, but rarely recognizes ordinary people going above and beyond to help others.

Those who put others before themselves are difficult to find, but those who do are an inspiration for us all.