By Carl DeMatteo, M.D., Ahmed Kutty, M.D., and Jim Murphy, R.N.
The Keene (N.H.) Sentinel, Letters, April 17, 2021
About 30 million Americans remained uninsured and 40 million underinsured before the pandemic struck our country in early 2020. The consequent economic catastrophe on Main Street has swelled those numbers to well over 100 million. Granite Staters got their fair share of the avoidable misery.
Health care corporations like United Health posted record profits during the pandemic, thanks to the tax-dollar subsidy handed to them, ostensibly to make insurance affordable to the low- and middle-income families. This may have helped some, but was inadequate to the huge task. In addition, building on the Affordable Care Act, while expanding coverage with public funds, virtually does nothing to control health care costs in America, with its fantastical belief that there is a free-market solution to every socioeconomic problem.
The recently reintroduced bill — HR 1976, “To establish an improved Medicare for All national health Plan” by Rep. Jayapal, D-Wash. — is an ambitious, long-overdue and transformative measure, covering all medically necessary services to all Americans regardless of ability to pay, as social insurance and a human right, while saving the nation $500 billion annually and costing substantially less to 95 percent of families, compared to their current tab.
There is currently a group of concerned citizens circulating a petition urging the Keene City Council to pass a resolution calling on our senators and congressional representatives to support the passage of HR 1976. We hope that when given the chance, all citizens of Keene will sign on to this petition and let the council know that this resolution must be passed, as has been done in other New Hampshire communities. Time to act as engaged citizens is now.