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Friday, April 07, 2017

Health Care continues to concern Americans- a Maine letter to the editor

"Letter to the editor" in a Maine newspaper calls for everyone to pay something for health care coverage. Although well intentioned, the author of the letter must realize how we already pay for health care coverage, whether or not we are the consumers. (Let's support a Medicare For All insurance program?)

Americans pay for health care coverage through revenue sharing to programs like:

1.  Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) budgets funded by tax revenues.

  • Medicaid assistance to children and the elderly in nursing homes
  • Immunization and public health programs
  • Health care research and disease prevention
  • Grants for medical and nursing education programs
  • CHIP- Childrens Health Insurance Program 
2.   By funding Veterans Health programs and providing access to care at Veterans Health Hospitals.

3.    By supporting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - CMS- where Medicare is administered.  
4.   By contributing to the payroll assessment matched by a contribution from employers to qualify for Medicare.

Moreover, Americans also pay privately for health care, whether or not we use it, when we are mandated to have automobile insurance whereby accident injuries are paid by the insurer.  

Home owners insurance provides health coverage for incidents allowable under the beneficiaries' personal injury provisions.

Workman's Compensation is a mandated program, whereby employee injuries, occurring on the job, are covered and paid at 100 percent without co-pays.

The above are just "top of mind examples" of how Americans already pay plenty for health care, and most of the time, we don't even use the coverage.  Unless we're on Medicaid, in a nursing home, a child who qualifies under CHIP or happen to be the unfortunate victim of an accident, we are already paying for health coverage, that we don't use.

What Americans need and we could all benefit from is taking every premium paid under the above plans and condensing the accumulated revenue into one big health care benefit fund.  

We can call it Universal Coverage or Medicare For All - or something else.  It doesn't matter,  because, in fact, by sharing the cost of all the health care we already fund but don't use, we could cover every man woman and child who qualify and probably lower our other insurance premium costs, in the process. Unfortunately, private insurance companies don't like the idea because it takes away premium payments to fund the universal health care provided. Too bad. Nevertheless, maybe insurance companies can figure out a way to receive tax credits for enabling universal health care to be made available to all Americans. 

Here is the text from the Letter to the Editor- although it is certainly a well intentioned opinion, I hope the author will come to realize how the ideas put forth are already included in his IRS bill. 

"Two basic principles should guide health care"

I would like to suggest that our elected officials take another crack a fixing health care, and in doing so adhere to two basic foundational principles.

1. Equal access to the health care for everyone. Access needs to be on a level playing field, not one where some have access to better or more comprehensive services than others. Factors such as employment, preexisting conditions or income should have no bearing on one’s access to health. Can we go so far as to say that access to health care services is a right, not a privilege?

2. Everyone pays. It’s true that some can afford to pay more than others, but everyone can and should pay something.

I believe that these are simple basic principles that everyone can agree to. They should not conflict with anyone’s political ideology be it conservative or liberal. I’ve heard people say that the issue of health care reform is complicated. I wouldn’t argue with that. What I would suggest though is that sometimes, simplicity can serve as a good foundation for building the solution to a complex problem.

Dennis Dalheim
From Wayne (Maine) published in the Central Maine Newspapers- KJournal

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