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The high cost of not reforming health care

   WASHINGTON -- If you think health care reform costs too much, well, here's what medical experts and lawmakers say would be the cost of doing nothing to reform the world's most expensive medical system.

   "Eventually the middle class, in large numbers, will be denied health care," said Dr. Mark J. Lema, vice president of the Medical Society of Erie County.

   In addition, "Medicare could collapse" thanks to spiraling costs, said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat.

   And if you still like things the way they are, take note of this. Your payroll taxes are going to subsidize annual Medicare expenses of upwards of $15,000 in places like McAllen, Texas -- whereas Buffalo doctors manage to provide the same services for less than half that.

   Of course, there are plenty of reasons to question why Democrats want to spend $1.2 trillion to reform the health care system.

   But how does that number sound compared to the cost of a nation where health insurance is nothing but a luxury?

   -- Jerry Zremski

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