One persistent myth still plagues progress toward meaningful health-care reform — the specter of a government takeover.

The threat of a government takeover is an unmitigated exaggeration at best, and a fraud on the people, at worst.

For the government to allow those without health-care access, regardless of age or status, to enroll in an expanded Medicare program, for example, does not amount to a takeover of anything. It does amount to a new choice for Americans, and a more decisive manifestation of our constitutional duty to promote the general welfare.

With government already providing health-care access to our elderly, veterans, children, destitute and Native American population, providing access to those remaining could not properly be said to be a government takeover. Indeed, if done carefully, the merger and coordination of the agencies already providing health care to most Americans would result in reduced government.

If we all put our minds to it, we can work together toward health care reform, but not by engaging in a tug-of-war.

Democrats should be charged with the responsibility to ensure that all Americans will have health-care access, not in 2013, but upon passage of the bill.

Republicans should be charged with the responsibility that the resulting system be designed and be efficient and affordable.

If other nations provide health care to all their citizens at a cost far lower than what we spend, are we saying America cannot do that? I hope not.

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We can do much better, and we must.

Dennis Morris

Pismo Beach

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