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Support public health insurance 

Arroyo Grande

Last year a doctor whose skill I respect was horrified at the prospect of a Democratic president who might promote universal health care, the “public option.” Her question to me was, “Don’t you realize what it would cost you in raised taxes?” The truth was, I didn’t, yet when I got home I calculated what I already paid for the health insurance I had. Medicare, which covers 80 percent of my medical costs (we have no prescription coverage), costs $100 a month in premiums. My Senior Classic Blue Cross (Anthem) insurance, which covers the remaining 20 percent of medical bills, costs $200 a month in premiums: twice the cost for 25 percent of the coverage. Between us, my husband and I already shell out 18 percent of our annual retirement income for medical coverage.


How much my taxes would rise to cover full coverage under a public option has never been put in print, but the private, for-profit health-care industry and the politicians supported by them seem appalled at both the unspecified “cost” and the prospect of the end of our “superior” private system, a “superiority” unsupported by the facts.


World Health Organization and other studies show statistically that the “developed” countries, all of which have universal health care, have a better outcome than we do under our present system: People live longer, there are fewer infant mortalities, the aged are better cared for, the general public health is superior.


Here’s my take. The public option (better yet, universal, single-payer health care) would not only improve our health outcomes at reduced cost, it would create jobs in the health care industry and lead to more and better trained doctors, nurses, and other health professionals to staff the necessary clinics and hospitals. In addition, it would take the financial burden off our corporations and small businesses, which pay for costly private health insurance and workman’s compensation packages, reduce the cost of their products accordingly, and allow them to compete in a world market that  already subsidizes its manufacturers by providing universal health care..


Would I wait in line to see my doctor? I already do and, I bet, so do most people, but the availability of care, the peace of mind, a healthy America, are all worth the wait.

-- Istar Holliday - Arroyo Grande

-- Istar Holliday - Arroyo Grande

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