Sunday, Dec 17, 2017
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Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Priorities out of whack on health care

According to the CBO report on the current health-care proposal, a 64-year-old male with an income of $26,500 in the year 2026 will pay 60 percent of his income on health-insurance premiums.

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan is gloating that Medicare will be de-federalized, turned back to the states as block grants, and capped, “which has never been done to an entitlement before.”

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That would be disastrous. Not to mention that it’s hardly an entitlement. Unlike Social Security, which has a max income upon which it’s based, I’ve been paying 2.9 percent of every dollar I’ve made for many years to a certain threshold. This will also dramatically cut Medicaid. Did you know that 45 percent of infant births in the United States are covered by Medicaid?

I’m a free-market, with an appropriate amount of regulation, guy about most things. The reason it doesn’t work in medicine is that third-party health insurers’ goals are diametrically opposed to that of the patient by their very nature. Mix in collusion and greed of Big Pharm, not tempered by a single-payer system that will sternly say, “No, we will pay x, not y” for a given treatment, and you have our system. 

Also know that the proposed platform defunds mental health care, as if schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were less important issues for one to deal with than high cholesterol.

For all its flaws, including unreasonably high premiums and co-pays in some areas, the Affordable Care Act let you cover your kids until age 26, added millions of people to the number of insured, all while actually lowering the growth rate of health care cost. If Donald Trump had accomplished this, I can assure you, he would remind you daily what an accomplishment that was.

We live together. Let’s start with the premise that we should take care of each other, that we should value the lives of our families, friends, and neighbors. Let’s pay what it costs to do that. Other countries do that now. I think people might be surprised that paying a bit more up front is easier to swallow when there are no deductibles or co-pays when we do get sick.

The proposal also repeals the employer mandate that says companies of adequate size must offer health insurance. What will your company do?

I’m not into fear-mongering for its own sake, but lack of vocal opposition to this health-care proposal is complicity. Whether you’re interested in politics or not, this decision is going to affect all of us profoundly.

At a time when eight men have as much wealth as half the world’s population, and a time when we already spend more on defense than the next seven countries combined, our country is proposing that millions of Americans lose their health insurance in order to give a $600 billion tax cut for the wealthy, spend $40 billion on a wall, and further increase the defense budget by $54 billion. Help stop the madness

DR. MARK DEARING

Temperance

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