A better health care alternative
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 Pape wrote in a letter published in the Dec. 28 edition of the Maryland Independent that if “Obamacare” is repealed, we’ll be back to the bad old days of unaffordable health insurance [“Get ready for worse health care”].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