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America needs public health care

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Some Americans do not seem to understand the importance of a public health care plan for our nation. A public plan could negotiate lower prices and cut administrative costs while eliminating the expenses of lobbying, advertising, profits and high executive salaries.

The private health insurance industry has no incentive to keep costs down. It uses lobbying and large campaign contributions to influence our representatives to vote against our interests. For example, they prevailed in preventing Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices. U.S. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the Senate Finance Committee chairman, is the third-highest recipient of money from the health industry, so let’s see whether or not he supports a public health plan.

Our government seems to have endless money for corporate bailouts and wars, but has not done much for average Americans. Since this issue is now before Congress, please contact your representatives to tell them you want a low-cost, public option, but not the decoy “co-op” plan.

Forty-seven million people in this country have no health insurance. Those with insurance pay an increasing share of the premiums, plus co-pays and deductibles. In many cases, care is limited and claims are denied. Fifty percent of people who declare bankruptcy do so because they are unable to pay their medical bills, even when they have health insurance.

Health care is a basic need. It is our country’s shame people must use hospital emergency rooms as substitutes for real health care. Independent U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont recently remarked that the fight for comprehensive universal health care is today’s civil rights struggle.

He also said, “To all the lobbyists, all the big-money interests who give us campaign contributions and lobby so successfully with those 30-second TV ads, I say your time has come and gone.”

Let’s hope he is right.

Linda Imhauser

Whitestone

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