Letters to the Editor

From Nov. 5

Election 2005

Yes on I-330

Let’s get the record straight! Initiative 330 is about improving health care access in Washington. Skyrocketing malpractice premiums drive doctors from Washington to other states such as California where tort reform has enacted. As the president of the Kitsap County Medical Society, I am keenly aware of the increasing shortage of physicians, particularly those in high risk specialties, in our county. Competent obstetricians who have never had a claim against them now pay over $76,000 annually for liability insurance. Physicians cannot afford these premiums. They are faced, therefore, with the tough choice of either stop delivering babies or leave Washington altogether. A recent study conducted by Harrison Medical Center concluded that Kitsap County is short of 30 primary care and specialty physicians. The lack of tort reform in Washington makes us unattractive to doctors and hampers our recruitment effort.

Under I-330, injured patients will still have their day in court and bad doctors will be punished. Our current tort system is so liable to abuse that both good and bad doctors are indiscriminately punished. The legislature has had its chance to fix the system. Now it’s time for voters to take matters to their hands. I urge you to vote Yes on I-330 and No on I-336 for a healthy Washington.

JASON C. CHEUNG, MD

President, Kitsap County Medical Society

Silverdale

Yes on I-901

I read with interest your editorial of Oct. 29 which opposed Initiative 901. Your main reason for opposition seems to be economic — lost revenue, lost jobs, lost tax revenue. These are important factors to consider in deciding how to vote on this initiative.

However, there are other issues to consider which you didn’t mention. First of all secondhand smoke is a health issue. There is no serious dispute that prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke poses a real threat to health. Those who don’t smoke but work in establishments like bowling alleys, certain restaurants, etc. face a genuinel health risk. To say that they can quit and work somewhere else is not much of an answer.

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