South Whidbey Record


LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Lobby for Medicare growth

December 19, 2013 · Updated 1:41 PM


Friends of mine are spending hours trying to sort out which health care insurance plan to choose, and which one they can afford.

Folks are frustrated and angry at the complexity and cost of health care. Some have given up trying to unravel an impossible system and are in the ranks of the 47 million uninsured in this country.

Some of this frustration and anger is directed at The Affordable Care Act — “Obama Care” — as being too complex, too expensive and unworkable. These are all justifiable accusations. Unfortunately, any health care “reform” legislation superimposed on the hodgepodge system in place in the U.S. today will not result in a more efficient, effective health care delivery system. The likely result will be greater confusion, inefficiency, complexity and expense. The plus is that with Obama Care, more uninsured folks will be covered.

Decades ago, during the time of anti-communist paranoia in this country, the American Medical Association seized the opportunity to terrorize the U.S. population on the dangers of “socialized” medicine and the benefits of private medical care. Since then, all attempts to create a universal, non-profit health care system have been doomed to failure because they have been driven by profit motive and private enterprise, as well as a continuing fear of government involvement in health care resulting from years of brainwashing.

As a country, we have abdicated our moral responsibility to provide health care for everyone. If your house is on fire, the 911 telephone operator doesn’t ask you whether you have homeowner’s insurance. Our fire departments are non-profit, operated by governments and committed to serving everyone. It’s the same with police departments. Some things are best left in the public, non-profit arena. Health care is one of those.

Per capita, the U.S. spends more on health care than any other country in the developed world. However, World Health Organization statistics consistently indicate that our overall health and well-being compare unfavorably to other countries, even much poorer countries. With our current system, we have little control over cost, efficiency or quality.

We might be better served to actively lobby for the expansion of Medicare to the entire population, rather than to criticize the current attempt to cover more uninsured people in this country.



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