Ukiah Mendocino: Health care a right for all Americans


Letter to the Editor
Ukiah Daily Journal

Every person is endowed by the creator with life. But it is the quality of life that makes it meaningful. That is why for me, providing universal health care for all persons is a moral, not a legal or political issue. It is immoral for one person who has health insurance to be on the fourth floor of a hospital in relative comfort, having just received the life saving surgery necessary to have a long and active life, while another person on the third floor of the same hospital, suffering from the same life threatening illness, lies dying in pain because they do not have the health insurance coverage necessary to pay for the same surgery.

In a moral society, people should want to prevent suffering, promote life and simply care about what happens to their neighbors. When it comes to good health, which is dependent on good health care, every person in the United States must realize that we are all in this together. The one thing that all of us have in common is that during our life time we will all get sick, we will all suffer in pain and we will all die. But for those of us that are eligible for and can afford health insurance and therefore obtain the best medical care that the United States has to offer, we will suffer less, we will have a longer life and we will have a better quality of life. To deny any person the health care that is necessary for them to have a good quality life is wrong and immoral. Life is a fundamental right of all citizens. So should universal health care.

In the United States today, good health care is not about the doctor patient relationship, it is about big business. It is about Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and the health insurance industry. It is about making money, cutting costs, paying dividends, bonuses, campaign contributions, lobbying, false advertising and causing public confusion over the issues so that nothing will change. As a result, persons with pre-existing conditions are denied coverage, the insured are denied the treatment or medicine they need, doctors are told what they can and cannot do and health costs sky rocket out of control. It

It is time to return health care decisions to patients in consultation with their physicians. It is time to give you and me back control of our health care.

In my opinion, the only way to ensure that all persons within the United States will have good quality health care is to allow every person the option to obtain their health insurance from the United States government. Medicare for everyone. Simply put, every person would have the option to apply for health insurance from the United States. No person could be denied coverage based upon pre-existing conditions. Everyone that applied would be issued a medical card that they could use to go see whatever doctor they wanted. No one would be required to obtain the government coverage. Everyone could keep their existing coverage through any private insurer, such as Blue Cross or Blue Shield or through their employment.

Decisions about what treatment or drugs a patient should receive would be made by the doctor and the patient and not the government insurance provider.

The government, that is not profit driven, would negotiate with health care providers and the pharmaceutical industry to keep health care costs down and pay a fair price for the service provided. Every person would pay an insurance premium based upon their ability to pay in accordance with an income schedule established by the government. For those who could not afford to pay a premium, a tax would be levied on those persons earning more than $350,000 of adjusted gross income annually. By lowering the costs of health care, imposing the health tax and collecting a premium payment from those that can afford to pay it, the program would pay for itself.

Having this public health insurance option would force the private health insurance carriers to become competitive. They would be forced to lower their costs, provide better coverage or both, if they wanted to stay in business. For those that say they are against the public option because they do not want the government to create another big bureaucracy, I say we don’t have to because the bureaucracy already exists, its called Medicare. We simply need to reform the Medicare system and utilize the existing bureaucracy to provide the coverage I am talking about.

To those who say that they don’t trust the government to run an effective program, I say I would rather trust my government than the existing health insurance industry over whom I have no control, who can deny me coverage, who can terminate my coverage at any time and who can raise their rates when ever they want to. Finally, for those who say that I am advocating socialism, I say, if that is the case, then the government has been in the business of providing socialized health care for a long time, but only for a selected few and it never bothered anyone before. Our United States’ Senators, Congressman and federal employees have always been provided with universal health care by the government.

Likewise, the government has been in the business of operating hospitals, employing doctors and nurses and providing health care to our military for hundreds of years and I don’t hear anyone saying that the government should stop providing health care to our troops simply because it is paid for by the taxpayers and provided by the government. Don’t you and I deserve at least the same health care insurance coverage that we as taxpayers provide to our elected representatives? Tell it to the mother of the child that is dying because she does not have health insurance and cannot afford the treatment her child needs. Tell it to the senior citizen whose life savings, everything that he and his wife has worked for all of their lives, is being wiped out because he could not get insurance coverage for his wife’s pre-existing condition and the life saving treatment that she needs is going to cost in the hundred of thousands of dollars. What type of moral society would allow that to happen simply because they are against the government running a program.

It is time for all people, democrat, republican and independent to stand up and say enough is enough. I urge you in the name of humanity to write our spineless President and elected representatives and say: Don’t buckle under to the health insurance industry, pass legislation that will give every American the right to obtain affordable medical insurance through the government. Let’s fix Medicare and provide health insurance to all. It is our right as human beings.

Les Marston writes on behalf of himself and family members Nicholas and Marky Marston.