Opinion

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Letter

Health Care Should be a Right

We have to do something about the rocket like trajectory of health care costs

The other day pushing open the door to the hardware store I read the flyer taped front and center. It put a lump in my throat and a fire in my belly.

“Come and support (John Doe) at a BBQ on Saturday to raise money for an operation,” it read.

The notion that any citizen of our great country would have to depend on donations for medical care or suffer and maybe die defies belief. If they do get care, chances are it will drive them to bankruptcy or home foreclosure. Unpaid medical expenses are the No. 1 reason for both.

Medicare, single-payer insurance, is a government program that is already in place and running with an overhead of 3 percent. Private insurance operates with a 17 percent overhead.

Switching over to a single-payer system all at once seems overwhelming. How about phasing it in? Next year we lower the “opt-in” for Medicare to age 50? The next year? Lower … etc.

The first countries to establish universal health care/single payer were Japan and New Zealand, in 1938. Canada came on board rather late in 1966 and even then implemented their plan province by province until the whole country was covered. It is estimated that the cost to citizens would be a savings. Instead of writing a check to the insanely rich insurance companies each month, you’d pay it in taxes. It’s like taking the money out of one of your pockets and putting in another, except with no co-pays, or deductibles it adds to your bottom line. And if the uber-rich paid just a wee bit more in taxes it would be even more affordable for the rest of us.

We have to do something about the rocket like trajectory of health care costs. Before 1973 it was illegal to profit from health care. President Nixon changed that.

Let’s elect candidates that see this issue for the emergency situation it is. We have to change course. Sen. Jon Tester and congressional candidate Kathleen Williams recognize that health care should be a “right” and if elected will work hard to make it happen.

Vote for Jon and Kathleen.

Carol Blake
Eureka