August 19th, 2019

Let’s Get Serious About Health Care

Dear Editor:

“Is universal health care feasible?” That’s a popular theoretical debate in our country and state. Opponents trot out well worn fears, from economic catastrophe to complete destruction of individual responsibility. They relay anecdotes about unmet needs, painting pictures of dead bodies piling up like trash after an outdoor concert.

Which is a testament toÉ.something. Because the question is not whether universal health care is feasible. That was answered with a resounding “yes” many, many years ago as country after country successfully implemented it. The question is why so many people continue to ask if it’s feasible, despite the absolutely overwhelming evidence that it is not only feasible, it’s ubiquitous, more efficient than the mess we have, and better for both the physical and mental health of the people.

Yet right now, as I write this, millions of Americans fret and worry about health care, as they juggle bills trying to find enough cash for a deductible or co-pay. They suffer constant anxiety, they fear the future, they forego needed health care because they simply lack the money to get it.

Also as I write this, millions upon millions of people who live elsewhere than the United States have no such worries. Right now, they have universal health care. Right now they know that universal health care is both possible and effective. Right now.

We need to stop treating this as theoretical. There’s nothing theoretical about a system that is in widespread use. There’s nothing theoretical about a system that we can all examine and evaluate.

The fact is that no other industrialized country relies on “The Market” to provide health care. NOT ONE. That is a fact. The people in every one of those countries counts on the government to make sure that they don‘t have to worry about being able to get health care when they need it.

The fact is that not one of those countries spends as much on health care as we do. NOT ONE.

The fact is that not one of those countries has a health care system as fragmented and confusing and complicated as ours is. NOT ONE.

We need to drop the pretense that universal health care is just a questionable theory. And we need to drop it right now, because the mental and physical health of our people depends on it.

Lee Russ

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