Letter: Are we stupid or crazy?

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To the editor:American health care is a bad joke. Consider this recent news: A mental health clinic just opened inside a Carrollton, Texas Walmart; a Michigan woman couldn't get on a transplant waiting list without adequate funding in place for the anti-rejection medicine (she has a GoFundMe page hoping to raise the money before she dies); a conservative writer decided that there was nothing unreasonable about expecting people with massive medical bills to take out mortgages on their homes.I have long wondered whether America's addiction to a health care system based on insurance companies pursuing their own profit was a mark of stupidity or insanity given the clear evidence that different systems used in other advanced countries provide similar or better care, to everybody, for less money.There's also evidence from our own country. The GAO clearly said in 1991 that Canadian style single payer health care could cover everyone, save money and quite possibly do away with deductibles and co-pays. Vermont's proposed single-payer plan was projected to save $378 million over the first five years (in the very report that Gov. Shumlin said showed the plan was impractical).Now we have growing calls for Improved Medicare for All, which would provide better care, to more people, for less money. Of course, the insurance companies, insurance agents and brokers, drug companies, for-profit hospitals and the like are in the process of throwing millions of dollars into demonizing that common sense plan. They have formed the "Partnership for America's Health Care Future."If what they want — the same insurance-based system we now have, with a tweak or two to pacify the demand for change — is indeed our health care future, we are doomed to the fractured, monstrously expensive and complex system we have now, under which so many people suffer in so many ways.Are we going to remain stupid or crazy? Or are we going to insist on Improved Medicare for All, which can provide better care, for far more people, for less money? No matter what the commercial interests fighting to keep the current mess may think, the choice is ours. It really is. But you have to care about it. You have to tell all your legislators — federal, state, and even local — that you have had enough stupidity and craziness. Wait a while and tell them again. And again.Lee RussBennington


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