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Opinion Letters Health care industry not ‘free’

Health care industry not ‘free’

We cannot buy a newspaper or news magazine without being deluged with facts, figures and formulas regarding America's health care system otherwise known as "Obamacare."

Unearthing a little veracity, our health care industry is one of the (if not the) largest and most profitable institutions in America, has been for a long time, and doubtlessly will continue to be in the future. The profits, in my view, are blatantly outrageous, obscene, beyond contemptible. Diane Rowland (letters, MCN, March 20) was painfully accurate, "making a profit off the sick is a very naughty thing to do."

Interestingly enough, 3,000 years ago, in Ancient China, physicians were paid only when their patients were well (Chinese Health and Healing by Daniel Reid, 1994). Each doctor had a certain number of families for which he was responsible. When any member of a family in his charge was ill (including servants) he was not paid until that member was well again. Physicians were therefore highly motivated to make and keep their patients healthy and I suspect (though I'm not sure) the people also were duty-bound to maintain their own good health.

We pay our doctors, when...? Doctors, hospitals, the medical and psychiatric industries are motivated to do, what ..? And, as long as we have "free" medical plans such as Medicaid, isn't it just remotely possible that our own citizens are less than impelled to maintain their own good health?

In respect to liking, or not liking, President Obama for his Obamacare health plans, it would be beneficial to remember that several presidents dating to Teddy Roosevelt (president 1901-1909) have tried to advance health care plans with dubious results.

Diane Rowland wasn't entirely accurate regarding Vermont's health care program. She implied Vermont has a single payer plan free for all citizens. My wife and I moved south from Vermont in June 1996, we still have family and friends there. I spoke to a family member a few days ago and that family is opting out of Obamacare, and accepting the penalty, due to the lack of affordability.

Yes, Vermont is controlled by Democrats; the governor, their lone congressman, and one senator (all Democrats). Their second senator (Bernie Sanders) claims to be an Independent but he caucuses with the Democrats and is a self-described socialist.

Due to this political imbalance, social programs are a top priority in Vermont. Workers, however, are also heavily burdened with a state income tax, a sales tax, and a voluminous property tax. No free health care for working Vermonters, sorry. Vermont is a wonderful state to live in, just terribly expensive for average wage earners. I think they call this "progressive."

Nationally, according to a recent survey of almost 600 U.S. businesses (The Week Magazine, 28 March) workers are spending 28 percent more on health benefits (including premiums, deductibles and copays) now than they did three years ago. Across our nation it appears employees are being required to shoulder a greater share of their benefit costs.

For average working Americans there is no such thing as affordable health care in America, too much greed, too much corruption. Fraud, waste and abuse within our health care industries is widespread and costs Americans tens of billions of dollars annually. Our Congress is bought off by health care lobbyists of every stripe and if there is a plausible, rational solution to this dilemma, I fail to see it.

I try to hold my health providers as accountable for the cost of my care as I can, no matter who's footing the bill, because I know it's not "free." I can only ask that you try to do the same.

David L. Snell — Dillsboro, N.C.

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