Letters to the Editor for Aug. 1, 2011

By Jayson Jacoby, The Baker City Herald

Bringing truth to health care debate

To the editor:

Thank you for printing Mark Weisbrot's op-ed (July 22) outlining the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and the potentially much greater benefits from Medicare for all.There is so much distortion and outright falsehood being drummed up by the right wing, that it's a relief to see the bright light of truth shine on important issues that affect us so deeply.Weisbrot's Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) is an excellent resource for factual information.

It was particularly helpful to read that Medicare spending per person

increased 400 percent from 1969 to 2009, adjusted for inflation, while

private insurance premiums rose 700 percent.This is a clear

demonstration that the federal government is much more efficient in

controlling costs than are private, for-profit corporations when it

comes to health insurance. And non-profit Medicare has much lower

overhead - in the range of 3 percent to 4 percent, well below the 10

percent to 30 percent for private insurance companies that are busy

lining their own pockets.

Excessive for-profit insurance expense and anti-competitive practices

by the pharmaceutical industry currently cause our per-capita health

care costs to be about double those of other developed nations.And we

have millions of Americans with no insurance, and we have worse health

outcomes, to boot.

We're lagging behind the rest of the world with our expensive,

antiquated, employer-provided private health insurance as a "fringe

benefit." Doing so discourages businesses from new hiring, and

motivates them to automate jobs or ship them overseas to minimize

health insurance costs. It's clear that improved, universal Medicare

for all, as suggested by Mr. Weisbrot, would help us catch up.It would

do wonders for our economy and our well being. We could drastically

cut medical insurance expense, and convert the current dysfunctional

hodgepodge into a much more efficient system in which everyone

participates and everyone wins.

Let's move past deceptive, ideological road blocks and work together to truly meet the needs of the American people.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

13111853
The Baker City Herald
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