Most publications have a section dedicated to letters to the editor. An effective letter can inspire readers to challenge the status quo and to speak out. Nearly all LTEs today are submitted by email, which should be sent with regard to the publication’s submission rules.

  1. Introduce Yourself
    Be professional and provide your name and contact, because the publication will likely need to verify information. Be sure to include any designations and titles that relate your experience or expertise to healthcare.
  2. Be Concise
    Published letters tend to average 250 words. A new approach or angle to the public discussion is more likely to get picked up. Stay focused on what’s most important rather than trying to address every single point.
  3. Keep it Relevant
    Relating your letter to a recently published piece, use details based on facts that will resonate with the readership of the paper. This includes local references, statistics, and/or experiences that may be relevant to the paper’s immediate audience.
  4. Include a Call to Action
    How can people help? If someone is empowered to act, they are more likely to take action. So instill confidence and give clear direction. Provide any necessary resources, such as a link or phone number to help people connect with their legislators.


LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Now is the time to consider Medicare for All plan

The recent outbreak and spread of COVID-19 proves how desperately we need to have a single-payer health care system, like “Medicare for All” proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Setting aside the awful, uncoordinated response from this administration and speaking specifically on COVID-19, if the poorest among us are unable to afford out-of-pocket costs like copays and deductibles for testing or treatment, or are unable to afford a health care plan outright to get treatment, it affects all of us and will affect the poorest communities the hardest.

Treating health care as a commodity rather than a public good is a disastrous policy for COVID-19 and in general. The insurance industry should not profit to the tune of $23.4 billion by working to deny their insured patients health care recommended by their doctors. No one should have to ration medication because they can’t afford it. No one should have to choose one medication over another because they can’t afford what they need to live.

And finally, study after study is showing that “Medicare for All” would be beneficial for our economy, and improve efficiencies and administrative costs for billing for health care providers. In a recent study from Yale researchers, they found the plan would save 69,000 lives annually, $219 billion in administrative savings, and improved access to primary care will mean less unnecessary hospitalizations and ER visits.

Weber Stibolt is a Columbia resident.

Nancy Burch: Single-payer for California would save money for everyone

According to the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, California SB 562, the bill to establish single-payer healthcare in California, will result in cost savings to virtually all sectors of the economy, from employers, providers and patients as well as the state.

The overall cost of providing full health-care coverage could fall by as much as 18 percent. The savings will come through the changes made in administration (far less paperwork, no back-and-forth negotiations with insurance companies), lower pharmaceutical prices and a more rational fee structures for providers. There will also be significant savings from the current high level of inefficiency.

For more details, search for the Economic Analysis of the Healthy California Single Payer Health Care Proposal. It makes a great deal of sense. We have not seen much coverage of this issue. Would really like to have more real info in the newspaper.

Nancy Burch, Ceres


Re “In single-payer health coverage, consider how much taxes would increase” (Viewpoints, May 7): Don’t be fooled by insurance company scare tactics!

I lived in France for 13 years, and my taxes were no higher than they are here. Their single-payer system is funded by premiums deducted from workers’ paychecks, just like here, except that the money goes to the “Medicare for all” program, which pays the bills. People who don’t work because they have other sources of income can buy an individual premium from the government. These premiums make up 87 percent of the revenue sources. The other 13 percent of revenues come from income taxes and “luxury taxes” on tobacco, gambling, etc.

I had the best health care of my life in France. There was no rationing, no waits for treatment. Care providers are private, not government run, and I could see any doctor I wanted. Let’s join the rest of the civilized countries by implementing a civilized health care system.

Lindy Rice, Rio Linda


I had to laugh out loud when reading Jim Wunderman’s scare piece on the costs of single-payer health care. I’ve had the dubious honor of being part of the private health insurance market for almost two decades. My husband and I used to pay $300 for our combined health care policy in 2001. Now that’s risen almost 500 percent to $1,700 a month – at that rate, we’ll be paying $3,300 a month by the time my husband is eligible for Medicare. More if the Republicans get their way with Trumpcare.

And what do we get for that increase? Higher co-pays for all of our services. We’d happily pay a little higher tax rate to ensure coverage that doesn’t increase by 10 to 20 percent every year. Where do I sign up?

Scott Coatsworth, Sacramento