Stop for-profit health care insanity

To the editor,

All but a handful of Americans currently have high premiums, high deductibles and poor coverage – or no coverage at all. Despite the fact that so many of us are un-or under-insured, our average health care costs per person are the highest in the world, by far. We all know someone who is struggling with a choice between health and financial solvency. If it costs $1,000 to take your kid to the ER, you are faced with a deadly choice. That’s insane.

National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA) would cover every American from conception to death very well – with comprehensive benefits, no questions about coverage or benefits, and no co-pays or deductibles. That means no insane choices between rent money and health care. Costs for covering every one of us would be far cheaper per person than what we pay now.

As with Medicare, a NIMA system would mean that we have one funding source – “single-payer” – that pays for all medical care provided by any provider. As with Medicare, providers, hospitals and clinics are privately run.

So “universal, single-payer health care” does NOT equal “government-run health care,” as insurance lobbyists want you to think. It means efficient, excellent care, as recorded year after year by the World Health Organization which rates NIMA-type systems as the most effective in the world. No wonder 70 percent of Americans favor a shift to NIMA.

Our American system is chaotic – it’s not designed for patients, but for profit. A friend’s twin granddaughters were born premature, their lungs undeveloped at 7 months. They, and their very stressed parents, rotated in and out of the hospital to address breathing issues. Recently, one twin was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit closest to their parents’ residence. Shortly after, their mother realized that the other twin was also suffering respiratory distress, but her spouse had the car, so she had to rely on an ambulance to reach the ER. As frequently happens with for-profit health care, the ambulance company only served one hospital – the hospital across town, not the parents’ preferred provider. So the twins were split up across town from each other, which required separate visits from their parents. More stress for everyone, and worse care for the patient.

This sort of insanity would not happen in any other developed country. Why? In all other developed countries care is centered on the needs of each patient, not on the competing claims of provider clinics in their effort to stay afloat. In those countries all citizens can go to any provider. Because all records are available in one database, administrative costs are dramatically cut. Compare Medicare’s administrative costs (2-3 percent) to those of our current, fractured for-profit system – 18 percent.

Get in the game – call your representative, write a letter and come to the local presentations of Healthcare Durango. Talk about it with folks you know. Enough nonsense! Let’s vote for National Improved Medicare for All.

– Kirby MacLaurin, Durango