JUDY CUNNINGHAM: We need healthcare solutions that benefit everyone

TO THE EDITOR:

In response to the “Difference of Opinion” on health care by Democrats and Republicans published in the May 30, healthcare became a hot button issue because our private employer-provided insurance system was failing us and employees were paying more and more of the costs.

A significant proportion of our population — people with minimum wage jobs, part-time work, people without jobs and people with pre-existing conditions — were left uninsured.

Obamacare was a step toward providing universal affordable health care. But since it used the same private insurers, costs continued to rise. Now the Trump Administration has done it’s best to destroy it rather than fix it, leaving our health care system in chaos. The Republican “opinion” is to be angry but offer no solution.

Do we need more money in the healthcare system? No, we need less. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation report of December 2018, “the average amount spent on health per person in comparable (income) countries ($5,280) is roughly half that of the U.S. ($10,224)”.

What is the solution to the high cost of health care and prescription drugs? What do these countries do that we don’t? They regulate and negotiate prices and use a single payer system to minimize administrative costs.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow believes we can do this in reasonable steps. First, to cover the most vulnerable age group with pre-existing conditions, Medicare should be expanded to cover 50-65 year-olds. Stabenow also believes that Medicare and Medicaid should be able to negotiate the price they pay for prescription drugs. That is the only way drug costs can be controlled.

The Republican opinion blames “government regulations” for fewer doctors. Do we have fewer doctors because of regulations, or the increasing debt from college and medical school tuition? Do we have fewer doctors, or just a problem with doctor distribution and an older population? Is the Republican solution just to blame the government for everything? Or should we start using “government of the people” the way it should be used, to find and carry out solutions that benefit us all?

Judy Cunningham

Bear Lake

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