By John Sytsma
Lewiston (Maine) Sun Journal, Letters, April 7, 2015
Once again, a bill to study the benefits of a publicly funded, not-for-profit, universal health care system has been brought before the Legislature’s Insurance and Financial Services Committee.
On March 25, 32 people from all walks of life urged the committee to approve that bill. Well known facts were again presented. According to Sen. Geoff Gratwick, M.D., Maine is spending 22 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, while it, along with the rest of the country, ranks between 17th and 35th in worldwide measures of health care quality.
According to Dr. Julie Pease of Physicians for a National Health Plan and president of Maine All Care, per capita spending in Maine is $8,500, while in New Zealand — which has universal health care — per capita spending is approximately $3,000. She estimates there were 130 needless deaths in Maine for lack of health coverage and 1,400 bankruptcies.
The editor of Maine All Care, in the monthly publication stated that there were 147,000 Mainers without health insurance in 2013; after “Obamacare,” that figure was 130,000.
The present health care system is appallingly unjust and immoral. The U.S. wastes billions of dollars on profit-driven insurance companies, overpriced services, drugs and medical equipment. Meanwhile, the public is getting third-rate care.
A not-for-profit, universal health care system could not only improve the national health, but cost half as much and help prevent unnecessary deaths and bankruptcies.
This nation needs to look seriously at that option and move in that direction.
John Sytsma resides in Farmington.