Letter: It’s time to embrace health care for all

Graphic by Lori Deaton

As a former health care professional, I appreciate [Xpress’ Jan. 31] issue on the Take Care Wellness Series, Part 1, especially the article on Samantha and Perry Young [“Helping the Helpers: VA Program Supports Caregivers”]. The article concludes with defining a societal “paradigm shift,” one that is open to holistic health care. Another equally significant paradigm shift needs to be offered: a growing acceptance for the role of the federal government in health care. Recent polling indicates 60 percent of Americans favor Medicare for all.

Perry Young receives health care through the Veterans Health Administration, which provides care at 1,243 health care facilities, including 170 VA medical centers and 1,063 outpatient sites to over 9 million veterans. What many people don’t realize: The VA is essentially “socialized” health care, whereby the government provides and pays for health care. Congressional leaders who claim socialized medicine is not viable in the U.S. are being disingenuous. The VA has its flaws, but the Oteen (Asheville) medical center is considered one of the best in the nation, and vets come to Asheville from all over the Southeast.

As a physical therapy assistant in home health, I treated many vets under rehab services provided by the government — Medicaid and Medicare. Medicare for all is not socialized medicine: Health care is publicly funded, but privately delivered. Patients retain control over which physicians to use, and the government pays those physicians. One recalls the American Medical Association vehemently opposed legislation for Medicare in 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson advocated for its passage. Things change. There was a paradigm shift, and Medicare has been embraced by most Americans.

Even business leaders are now saying the current health care system is hurting their “bottom line.” For those companies that offer health care to their employees, 17 percent of payroll goes towards health care expenses. Sixty-two percent of American households that file for bankruptcy do so from medical expenses.

I am heartened that Perry Young and his family have not experienced bankruptcy.

It is time the business community enter the health care discussion. There will be an educational forum on “Healthcare for All: Good for Busine$$,” on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 7-8:30 p.m. at A-B Tech Ferguson Auditorium, sponsored by HealthCare for All WNC, a regional chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. The forum will feature David Steil, a former Pennsylvania state Republican legislator and midsize business owner, who has helped introduce universal health care legislation in the Pennsylvania legislature when he was president of Healthcare4AllPA. Mr. Steil will describe his own personal “journey” toward universal health care and why it’s “good for business.”

I encourage our WNC Congressional representatives (Patrick McHenry and Mark Meadows) to hear David Steil’s case for universal health care. America remains the only industrial country without some form of universal health care. It is time for the next paradigm shift. Medicare for all may even “make America great again.” If we only had the political will to do this.

— Roger Turner
Asheville

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25 thoughts on “Letter: It’s time to embrace health care for all

  1. Lulz

    LOL you should show them articles on VA ran healthcare before taking a poll. But people like you who believe in the insanity of the government ran anything also need uninformed people to go along with it.

    • hauntedheadnc

      Yes, let’s! Here’s a good one to start with:

      https://www.military.com/militaryadvantage/2016/04/veterans-do-not-want-the-va-privatized

      Favorite quote: “In a recent survey of America’s 22 million veterans conducted by global research firm GfK for the DAV (Disabled American Veterans), 87 percent of veterans said the federal government should provide a health system dedicated to the needs of ill and injured veterans. The same message came from veterans surveyed by the well-respected and bipartisan survey team of Lake Research and Chesapeake Beach Consulting. Their survey found that regardless of political party, branch of service or geography, America’s veterans strongly oppose privatizing VA health care. Eighty percent oppose turning VA health care into a system of private sector vouchers, and more than half of the veterans surveyed said that they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported privatization, including 53% of veterans who identified as Republicans, 57% of independents and 67% of Democrats.”

        • hauntedheadnc

          When you can find some evidence that more than 22 million have died waiting, then we’ll talk. Til then, I’ll take the word of the 22 million living veterans who said they don’t want their healthcare privatized. I’ll also go on the experiences of my own father who used the Asheville VA hospital.

  2. Austin Hill

    We are the most unhealthy nation in the history of the world with an 18 trillion dollar debt. I ‘m not sure why people are wanting to pay for all those people who have made a lifetime of bad health decisions. Granted insurance companies suck and there needs to be a better system, but giving it away to the federal government probably isn’t a good idea. We simply cannot afford to pay for and should not incentivize all the obese and diabetics who don’t care about their bodies and are spawning more obese children. Individuals need to be able to buy into to their own pools via health coops and such.

    • BRO

      Lots of people make no bad choices and still have medical crises. They shouldn’t go bankrupt from that. And frankly, even smokers, gun owners, and people who are pre-disposed to diabetes shouldn’t go bankrupt from medical care either. I think we also need to remember that our tax dollars can be used to cover expenses for coverage, versus giving them to private contractors and the defense dept.

      • Austin Hill

        Whenever I say we simply can’t afford it people always respond about the defense budget. It doesn’t change the fact that we can’t afford it. But my Libertarian leanings compel me to agree that we should indeed slash the defense budget, but that’s not what we are talking about here and I don’t see it happening.

        • BRO

          I think we can afford it – we just need to change our delivery methods. Other countries have been able to figure this out.

    • luther blissett

      “I ‘m not sure why people are wanting to pay for all those people who have made a lifetime of bad health decisions.”

      I’m not sure why some people maintain the warped preening Calvinist belief that good health is a product of virtue, which presumably means that kids with cancer should have chosen better parents. But if you’re dead-set against caring about other people, there’s not much to be done.

      • Austin Hill

        You’re losing your touch Luther. Your presumptions are silly and kind of judgmental. I made it pretty clear that I am willing to pay in to a pool. I donate when friends request funds for care. Those who know me know that I am someone to turn to. I just don’t want the government making the decision for me. They are pretty thoroughly dysfunctional and fickle. Sorry you don’t get that.

        • luther blissett

          ” I donate when friends request funds for care. ”

          Well, I’m sure that your $5 muffin purchase at the Cancer Bake Sale covers about half an ounce of saline. Good for you.

          The pool thing is silly. Basic actuarial principles mean that the larger the pool, the closer it resembles the entire population. You might not want to be in a pool with obese people for your own personal reasons, but are you willing to submit your DNA to an insurer to see whether you have a 20% chance of contracting a certain cancer in the next five years, and paying a premium because your parents made poor genetic decisions?

          “They are pretty thoroughly dysfunctional and fickle. Sorry you don’t get that.”

          Maybe I just see every other developed nation manage it better. But perhaps that’s because they don’t have as many Libertarian types whining about how government can’t do anything and trying their hardest to prove it.

    • NFB

      The healthy pay for the health care for the sick. That’s just the way it works. Either the sick who are insured have the healthy who are also insured pay or the sick who are uninsured have their health care paid by the healthy when they go to the emergency room. The healthy subsidize the health care of the sick. The only way to add at least some balance to that system is some sort of universal coverage.

      Of course if you are someone who is OK with people dying due to a lack of health care coverage, well then that says a whole lot more about you and your nihilistic worldview than anything ever could about people who have made “bad health decisions.”

      • Lulz

        LOL but with a shrinking pool of payers what’s going to happen? Oh lemme guess, bureaucrats deciding who gets treated and who doesn’t. And of course we’ll ignore the billions being eaten by said bureaucrats and their fat pensions and pay and demand even more from the dwindling pool of people that do pay.

        • NFB

          “bureaucrats deciding who gets treated and who doesn’t. ”

          AKA insurance companies.

          • Lulz

            LOL but I can switch companies. Government is a lot more difficult.

          • NFB

            LOL good luck finding an insurance company without bureaucrats more focused on the bottom line and big bonuses to their CEO than proving healthcare.

  3. Austin Hill

    I would like to point those who judge have not been able to explain how a country 18 trillion in debt pays for this. That is my main concern and if the country was financially responsible then I would be all in.

    • hauntedheadn

      By your logic, a country 18 trillion in debt can’t afford to function at all and were it a private company it would be foreclosed upon and its assets liquidated. The military is by far the biggest expenditure in our national budget and China owns most of our debt, so shall we dissolve the military and start learning Mandarin?

      • The Real World

        That might happen eventually.
        Probably not in my lifetime but, not out of the question in the future given the track we are on.

        Clarification: Natl Debt will hit 21 TRILLION before the year ends. http://www.usdebtclock.org/

    • Lulz

      Remember LOL, they are the same crusaders who say not to judge. But leftism will gladly label you to be a murderer for exercising a right, a fascist for exercising your vote, and a nutjob for believing in God. And once they learn of your beliefs, do you think they’ll provide for your well being?

      If recent history has proved anything, it’s that leftism will destroy everything in it’s path to absolute power. They will ignore laws and anything else that gets in its way.

    • luther blissett

      “I would like to point those who judge have not been able to explain how a country 18 trillion in debt pays for this.”

      Most developed nations manage to provide universal healthcare for $5500 per capita per year or around 11% of GDP. The US spends over $9000 per capita per year, or around 17% of GDP. The “system” as it stands is financially irresponsible to the tune of about a trillion dollars per year.

  4. jason

    We should do away with the VA after all the drafted service men and women have died. Otherwise, you volunteered for service. You shouldn’t expect free anything once you leave. Go get a job and pay for your own healthcare like the rest of us.

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