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It's time for universal health care

Published: July 17, 2017 4:00 AM

With all the talk about repealing the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) and replacing it with some ill-conceived Republican plan, I have come to believe health care is a right, not a privilege.

It should be available to all individuals on an as-needed basis whether they are wealthy or poor, employed or unemployed, insured or not insured, young or old, have or don't have a pre-existing condition. Why? Because it's the right and decent thing to do.

I believe that "health care" should include coverage for prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, nursing care and mental health care.

And I believe that the wealthy need to pay their fair share of taxes to fund it. There is a finite amount of money circulating in our health care system, huge though it may be.

I believe that every penny of it should be spent on prevention and cure, and not on executive salaries and bonuses, corporate profits, stockholder dividends, sales commissions, advertising, lobbying, or on duplicate systems and administration. The United States is the only advanced nation that does not have some form of universal coverage.

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Yet it has the highest health care costs in the world by far, and by many measures (life expectancy, infant mortality, rates of heart disease & cancer to mention just a few) it does not have the best health care. What does that tell us?

I believe it's time to face the inevitable. We will never be able to fix health care if we leave it to the free market and private insurers.

Private insurers are in business to maximize profits, period. They are not in business to prevent disease or take care of people who are injured, sick or addicted. If we really want to fix health care, sooner or later we will have to go to a single payer, Medicare-for-all type of system. I believe that time is now.

James Singer

Kent


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