A bet­ter health care al­ter­na­tive

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

I have news for Gary Pape of Ch­e­sa­peake Beach. Mr. Pape wrote in a let­ter pub­lished in the Dec. 28 edi­tion of the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent that if “Oba­macare” is re­pealed, we’ll be back to the bad old days of un­af­ford­able health insurance [“Get ready for worse health care”]. I can’t af­ford my health insurance now, un­der Oba­macare. It’s been a bur­den on our joint in­come, which is just above the limit for qual­i­fy­ing for sub­si­dies, and for 2017 I’m fac­ing a 61 per­cent rate in­crease. I’m faced with ei­ther pay­ing a pre­mium that will bank­rupt me and my wife, or pay­ing the tax penalty at the end of the year, which will also be un­af­ford­able. And there are prob­a­bly sev­eral mil­lion Amer­i­cans who are in the same boat as I am.

Mr. Pape, how­ever, presents us with a false choice of ei­ther Oba­macare or the sys­tem that ex­isted un­til 2010. The real al­ter­na­tive is to aban­don the mon­e­tary cri­te­ria of both sys­tems and re­turn to the stan­dard of the gen­eral wel­fare that was em­bod­ied in the 1946 Hill-Bur­ton Act. This eight­page leg­is­la­tion set stan- dards for the num­ber of beds per thou­sand pop­u­la­tion, and the re­sult was that by the mid-1970s, every county in the na­tion had at least one hos­pi­tal. Ev­ery­one who needed it had ac­cess to care, re­gard­less of their fi­nan­cial sta­tus.

That stan­dard was un­der­mined in 1973 by the cre­ation of HMOs, which in­tro­duced the cor­rup­tion of the profit mo­tive into health care and put us on the slip­pery slope to where we are to­day. Carl Os­good, Lusby

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