History of errors

In response to Lynette Burgan’s letter of November 14, 2013:

First, the big spenders in the last 30-40 years were Republicans. Ronald Reagan spent money as though it were water. Bush II led…er, lied… us through two unfunded and unnecessary wars. Clinton, a Democrat, ended his presidency with a surplus.

Second, all health plans, including government ones, must conform to the Affordable Care Act. They must allow coverage for children of policyholders up to age 26, cannot deny coverage due to a preexisting condition, and cannot impose lifetime care limits. This is now true of all health care plans.

I have to ask: Why weren’t Republicans concerned about health insurance companies cancelling policies BEFORE the affordable care act? When I lived in the DC area, cancelling policies seemed to be a hobby of health insurance companies. Serious illness often meant denial of coverage. The leading cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. is health care costs.

We need to control costs. Right now, it is estimated that the average policyholder pays about $1000 a year to cover costs incurred by the uninsured. Obamacare aims to correct this situation by making sure that those who can afford it pay their share.

Health care is a right; not a privilege. Therefore, we have Medicaid for those without the means to cover their costs. It includes vets, the working poor, and others who need assistance.

We are the only developed country that allows profit-taking on basic health insurance. It is immoral. According to well-known reporter and author TR Reid, who has researched health care in other countries, the fear of socialized medicine is misplaced. In most major countries much of medicine is privatized. They spend much less than we do for better – often astoundingly better – results.

The problem for us is that 20-40% of our health dollars go not for actual healthcare but for profits. These profits pay not just for essentials, but things like private planes, outrageous CEO salaries, and fancy offices. This is happening while we have millions of citizens without the care they need.

I have to wonder if some of those who profit so handsomely from ‘health care as we know it’ are sabotaging this process. How much money, and from whom, are the legislators who want to gut Obamacare getting? I recall that House Speaker John Boehner was caught handing out checks on the house floor a few years back. ( Max Baucus received huge amounts of money from the industry during the run-up to Obamacare…and wouldn’t even allow discussion of a public option).

Why not Medicare for all? The cost of running Medicare is 3-7% depending on your source, as opposed to 20-40% under the current system (due to huge profits). It’s already in place. Let’s just expand the program.

Finally: A significant percentage of our biggest corporations pay no taxes at all. They lobby against unions, without which we’d all still be working 12-hour days and six-day weeks. It’s all about profits over people. Most don’t care about human rights, clean air, or clean water. They own our politicians. The good ones among them – those with integrity – seem powerless to change the system.

My point is that it’s not the cost of the less fortunate that we need to worry about. It’s the greed of the takers at the top who work tirelessly every day to establish a plantation economy.

Kathryn Kern
Red Lodge