Shocking injustice in health care

By Thomas Clairmont, M.D.
Letters, Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald, Jan. 27, 2012

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day should lead us to review some of what this great man said. Let's review three of his quotes:

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." With 65,000 Maine citizens about to be ejected from their Medicaid insurance, and 3,500 New Hampshire citizens with Medicaid eliminated from practices at Lakes Region Hospital, the time is long past to solve injustice in health care. You wouldn't know it from the recent primary, where the only "plan" to help you with health care was to repeal President Obama's Affordable Care Act and replace it with ... nothing.

"The time is always right to do the right thing."

Dr. Wennberg at Dartmouth has shown a way to "cut costs by 40 percent, enough to cover every uninsured person in the United States." Dr. Himmelstein of Physicians for a National Health Program has shown that "if we cut our bureaucratic costs to Canadian levels, we'd save nearly $400 billion annually — more than enough to cover the uninsured and to eliminate co-payments and deductibles for all Americans." Harvard Economics Professor Hsaio demonstrates "our research and analysis shows that a single-payer system can immediately reduce health care costs in Vermont by 8 percent to 12 percent and reduce health care costs by an additional 12 percent to 14 percent over time." Why isn't saving money, covering you and your family and covering your neighbors the right thing to do?

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Our group says that health care is a human right and every citizen should be fully covered. How about you?

Thomas Clairmont, M.D., is a member of Physicians for a National Health Program. He practices internal medicine in Portsmouth.