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To solve health care, Medicare for all

By Kevin Twine
The Times Record (Brunswick, Maine), Letters, March 21, 2013

Thanks to Gordon Weil for his cogent explanation of the cost problem our health care system faces (“The problem with health care is cost, page A10, March 15). “Problem” is a charitable term. “Disaster” would be far more appropriate.

In a nutshell, in comparison with other developed nations, the U.S. health care system has much more unfettered free enterprise, much higher cost, far fewer people covered and quite mediocre results.

More free enterprise is not the solution. We are in this mess because there’s too much free enterprise, and it’s out of control. Hospitals can charge whatever they want in a totally seller’s market. That’s why we get $1.50 Tylenol tablets.

Medicare, because of its size and market clout, limits these abuses — but only for our senior citizens.

I have yet to hear any “free enterprise” health care plans that make sense. All we hear is that Medicare and Medicaid are the problems. The truth is that they are part of our overall health care system and should not be singled out simply because they are big targets. The problem is systemic, and must be dealt with that way.

In fact, Medicare for everyone is an entirely reasonable alternative. It would be relatively easy to implement because it is well-understood, and a sound cost control structure is already in place. It would immediately cut costs because its administrative expenses are low compared with the insurance industry: about 4 percent for Medicare versus more than 25 percent for the insurance companies.

We must cease the ideological arguments and focus instead on solutions that make sense and are attainable. “Medicare For All” fits these criteria quite well.

Kevin Twine resides in Brunswick.