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In need of some healing

Our front page story today on health care costs certainly gives us pause. There would seem to be a big storm brewing and when it hits, a lot of people are going to be hurt.

"We've almost hit bottom," said Dr. Louis Ortenzio, a Clarksburg physician.

"You can see it every day. That tension gets higher," said Bruce Carter, president of United Hospital Center.

As the number of uninsured or underinsured people in this country grows, and as the cost of health care explodes, one would have to think that -- whatever your political stripe -- somewhere, somehow, something's got to give.

Both Ortenzio and Carter believe the crisis will come to a head sometime in the next decade, and both propose a national health care plan similar to that in Canada. In spite of opposition from Congress and the insurance community, both men predict we're headed in that direction.

We could, in the years to come, end up in a situation where insurance companies will refuse to pay increasingly high medical bills and hospitals will fail as a result.

Perhaps such a scenario is too overblown and maybe a national health care system is unworkable, but the way the system works now is unacceptable.

This is a national problem and there should be a national dialogue. We hope the presidential campaign this year includes proposals from both candidates on how to address the health care crisis.

If we try to meet this challenge now, perhaps we can avoid catastrophe on down the road.

James Logue