To drive down the cost of care: stay healthy

To the Editor:

Universal health care is a really good idea, despite Mr. Robert VanKuren’s claim to the contrary (Letter to the Editor, Jan. 4). He says a Hoover Institute report “goes into a detailed analysis of the shortcomings of the single-payer approach.” I read the report. It does not mention single-payer health care at all. Perhaps Mr. VanKuren confused single payer with Obamacare.

The HI report (https://hoover.org/re search/republican-health-care-muddle), by Richard Epstein, March 2017, “The Health Care Conundrum,” analyzes the problems of the Affordable Care Act and the problems trying to enact the American Health Care Act last year. HI, founded by Herbert Hoover in 1919, promotes markets to regulate economic activity. Under the leadership of President Hoover, the U.S. and the world suffered the worst economic depression in modern history.

Since the Nixon administration began Health Maintenance Organizations in 1973, every “market solution” has failed to curb rising health costs and provide care for all. The U.S. is the only country with thousands of bankruptcies each year attributed to health care expenses.

According to Aaron C. Catlin and Cathy A. Cowan, Nov. 19, 2015, “U.S. health care expenditures have steadily increased as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) over the last half century, increasing from 5.0 percent of GDP in 1960 to 17.4 percent in 2013.” The average for most countries is less than 10%.

Why is universal health care NOT a nightmare for Japan?

• 100% of Japanese have health coverage;

• In 2015, 11.2% GDP went to health care;

• Individuals choose their own doctors;

• They have the world’s longest life expectancy and the second lowest infant mortality rate;

• 95% of Japanese health care is non-profit;

• The Japanese government caps fees.

“Since time immemorial, health has been an important concern in the lives of humans. Civilizations have constructed complex infrastructures over the centuries to combat the malevolent forces of disease and pestilence in an attempt not only to extend life, but to improve its quality as well.” (Marin Alisa McDonald: Fighting Against the Evils of For-Profit Health Care,” EDGE, 7/26/99)

In my opinion, our well being depends upon one’s diet, access to information, daily routines and genetics. A health care system exists to assist us in maintaining a balanced life and to serve as backup when illness or injury strikes. Being healthy is the best way to drive down the costs of care.

TONY DEL PLATO

Interlaken

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