People shouldn’t have to die because they can’t afford to live

Editor,

In response to Lorinda Newton’s letter in the Aug. 26 edition of The Record, I have some thoughts about decency. To use the tragic death of a young child to make a political statement is heartless, appalling and the most hurtful thing one could do to his family. A debate about healthcare in America should be about facts, not emotions.

To that end, let’s have some facts about single-payer healthcare.

In Canada’s socialized medical system, emergent health events are addressed immediately and less critical cases are sometimes delayed so people in more critical condition can receive the care they more urgently need. However, if someone doesn’t want to wait, they can pay for their care at private clinics and hospitals.

Is it free? No, but our system is a lot less free than theirs. The per capita cost of healthcare to cover every Canadian citizen is $6,299 per person annually, according to their government’s Institute for Health Information.

Alternatively, according to the Centers for Disease Control, Americans spend $9,237 on healthcare per person per year. We spend more on healthcare than any other country in the world, only to insure 91 percent of our population and leave 28.6 million people just a heart attack or a cancer diagnosis away from bankruptcy. Something there doesn’t add up.

Is our healthcare worth those extra $3,000 from each of us every year? Do we really want to continue paying sky-high prices for medications? Do we love health insurance executives so much that we want to continue handing them millions of dollars in bonus checks, paid for by the profits they made off our illnesses?

This is what it all comes down to: Single-payer healthcare means people don’t have to die for the cruel and nonsensical reason that they can’t afford to stay living. It means kids can have a shot at fighting cancer, instead of a case manager deciding that giving him a chance wouldn’t be good for the bottom line. And it means that when someone gets a life-threatening illness, they can focus on living that bit of life they have left, instead of being kicked out of their now-foreclosed house.

Call universal healthcare what you will, but I call it the right thing.

BILL HARPER

Clinton

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