By Richard A. Damon, M.D.
The Missoulian (Missoula, Mont.), Letters, Jan. 17, 2017
United States health care is currently at a tipping point. If Obamacare is to be repealed, it should be replaced by Improved and Expanded Medicare for All.
Health care should not be dependent on the free market, income, race, gender, political party or any other status of the human condition. Health care costs should not force anyone into bankruptcy because of serious illness. The quality of health insurance should not determine whether people live or die. Health care should not be designed to make huge profits for multi-billion-dollar insurance companies, drug companies, hospitals and medical equipment suppliers.
Health care is not a commodity to be bought and sold. The purpose of any sane health care system is to keep people well, not to make stockholders wealthier.
Our current system is costly, bureaucratic, wasteful and inefficient, ranking 37th in the world. Economist Gerald Friedman, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has done mountains of research on Medicare for All and concludes that Expanded and Improved Medicare for All would save $592 billion annually in health care costs, reduce drug costs by $116 billion, and create savings enough to cover all 44 million uninsured and underinsured citizens.
H.R. 676 even provides $51 billion for transition costs of displaced insurance and health care workers. H.R. 676 already exists as Rep. John Conyers’ legislative bill, designated “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All,” in the House of Representatives.
It is time for Congress to act on H.R. 676. We must join together. The enactment of H.R. 676 is straightforward. We must get to work, get involved, speak out, take action and make it happen. Join the national movement called “Our Revolution” to get it done. Remember, if you do not speak out against injustice, you are on the side of the opposition.
Dr. Richard A. Damon resides in Bozeman.