Letters to the Editor

Why we need universal health care

Jun 21 2022, 6:04 AM

We all have a lot to worry about nowadays: war in Ukraine, gun safety, inflation, civil rights, Covid-19, and much more. We should add our health care system to the list.

We Americans pay twice as much as any other country for our health care and still our hodgepodge, chaotic system fails to deliver the goods. A recent report ranked the U.S. dead last in health care among the wealthiest nations when it considered five different performance categories: access, care process, administrative efficiency, equity, and health care outcomes. Our current for-profit health care system is a disaster. 

About 10% of us are uninsured; 43% more are underinsured (can't afford to see the doctor because of high deductible or copay). Fifty percent of lower-income U.S. adults said that costs prevented them from receiving the care that they needed. Poor insurance and high costs lead to lack of access, which leads to poor outcomes.

Poor access, high cost and suboptimal outcomes can be a deadly trio. It is estimated that over 300,000 lives could have been saved during the current pandemic if Americans had better access to care. Right now, we are at the mercy of corporate giants (United Healthcare, Aetna, etc.) who are focused on making a profit. They do not show much mercy. Our dollars are used for fat-cat executive bonuses, investor dividends, advertising, lobbying, campaign donations, etc.

What we need is universal health care. Everyone would be covered. There would be no premiums, deductibles or copays. There would be a single payer administered by a system similar to Medicare (Improved Medicare for All). Administrative waste would disappear. There would be an end to chaos.

G. Richard Dundas

Bennington