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To the editor:

The recent front-page story about the ordeal of a young NAU student in needing some serious, and expensive, health care when she doesn't have insurance coverage illustrates what's wrong with our current system: government rules that stymie competition and tie health insurance to a job. A better system, and one that certainly would have benefited Ms. Bacigalupo, would be a free market.

Why? Well, in a free market, where insurance wasn't mandated through employment, she not only would have found it easier to shop around for insurance, but being in about the lowest-risk pool imaginable (young), it would have been relatively inexpensive. If we can end the nonsensical insurance coverage of regular medical care, like for routine doctor visits and shots, she would only have to buy the health insurance she really needed -- catastrophic coverage. This would also tend to keep her costs low -- maybe even lower than someone her age buying auto insurance.

Over time, with a health savings account, she could save money to provide for health care between these two extremes, further keeping her actual insurance costs down. Indeed, if her parents could have done this, and if such an account were transferable to their children, they might have had the wherewithal for the health care needed now.

The better system has more competition and more freedom, not more government regulation, more government intervention and more government mandates. Yet, the so-called "reform" enacted by Congress moves us further away from a better system.

DENNIS FOSTER

Flagstaff

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