Letter writer Laura Shifflet (Feb. 5 edition) doesn't see health care as a right for all, only for the deserving. How will she determine who gets no care, basic, or Cadillac? Shall we weed out those who haven't lifted a finger to earn the privilege? Disabled children? Teenagers? Have people working two or three part time jobs without benefits won the privilege? How about those who lost their jobs to illness and their health insurance with it?
How many of us have enough "personal responsibility" to pay for two major illnesses without coverage, or even with it? Rugged individualism has its limits.
Every minute a responsible American family loses their home and retirement security to the cost of illness. Unscrupulous insurers can find a pretext for dropping coverage. The ill don't have the resources to fight for reinstatement. Denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, high deductibles (making many under-insured), hidden provisions in contracts, lifetime maximums etc. We pay more, premiums go up. CEOs rake in huge bonuses for this. The Market at work.
I agree that mandated insurance imposes a burden on citizens especially since it leaves the devices and power of these companies intact. I object to my taxes pumping up a dysfunctional, fragmented, and unfair system. Insurance and drug companies have lobbied away the heart of President Obama's vision of health reform. The leftovers are only tepid insurance reforms that drop the promise of covering all of us. "If you like what you have, you can keep it" has morphed into "if you don't like it, you're stuck with it."
Do we have the best doctors hospitals and technology? Most of us do. The 40-plus million uninsured and tens of millions of under-insured, don't. About 45,000 Americans die each year for lack of coverage.
You are covered for life, you choose your doctor, no one ever goes broke from illness- is a promise 35 other democracies make to their citizens. All of them spend much less for care andtheir people are healthier. Their governments finance medical care by paying private providers or through a government run system. Our Founding Fathers rebelled for being denied the political rights of Englishmen. I demand the healthcare rights of the English!
A government beholden to profit seeking companies and not to the Common Good needs a new direction. Universal health care can work for us, and can be done.
Chesley Yellott, M.D.