To The Eagle:
Now that our elections are over, I can say what I want to say without being accused of "thumping" for one candidate or another (by golly, I am sick of this election!)
I am motivated to write this letter to the editor after hearing for the third time in recent weeks a Cathlamet person say, "I don't think I can afford my medication." I am, I think rightly, upset when I hear people that I view as responsible, normal citizens of various ages state that they cannot afford medications for diseases such as heart trouble, diabetes, and similar serious conditions. In this day and age that is just not right. It reinforces my view that our health care system is in need of a serious and more extensive overhaul than we have recently had in Congress. I used to work down the hall from a medical epidemiologist who would periodically rant and rave about the terrible state of our health care system. It is true that such countries as Canada, Cuba (!), and South Korea all have much lower infant mortality rates than the U.S. does. And they all have what we call a "socialized" health care system. We are about the only civilized country in the world that still does not have a government controlled health care system.
In my travels around the world I have received medical care in such diverse countries as Germany and Taiwan. It was always first class, economical, and open to all. People in countries where there is government controlled health care don't have to worry about whether or not they can afford their care or their medications. In addition, in countries with government controlled health care, people do not have to watch $1 out of every $3 they pay for health insurance go into the private pockets of rapacious health care insurance companies. All of the money citizens in other countries contribute to their health care goes for health care. What a concept! In Taiwan a three percent tax for health care is added to their income tax and when they receive care they pay nothing! Health care providers are happy with the system and so are the citizens who use it, (I asked). In addition, employers are not burdened with having to pay for their employees health care, one reason companies move from the U.S. overseas.
Government sponsored health care does not make us a socialist nation any more than government sponsored and controlled police or fire departments make us socialist. Some things are better done by the government and some by private enterprise. We need to wake up to all of the "blarney" insurance companies feed us in order to keep their profits high. Let's have a system where everyone can receive the care and the medications they need! Let's change our reputation in the rest of the civilized world as the country where we pay the most for health care and get the least.
Harold T. Kriesel, Ph.D.
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