Health care shouldn’t be determined by the insurers

By Deborah Schumann, M.D.
The Washington Post, Letters, Feb. 20, 2015

The Feb. 17 front-page article “Faces of the subsidies case” was right when it said that health insurance “payments, which are referred to as tax credits, go directly from the federal government to the insurance companies.” That is how the Affordable Care Act was designed, by the insurance industry.

In the article, Erin Meredith, a self-identified Republican, said, “I’m just trying to make it ... and not be on government assistance.” So this tax credit isn’t government assistance? The federal government is subsidizing the insurance industry with the intention of making cheap products available to consumers. Perhaps some of us don’t want health insurance, but we all (even Republicans) want health care when we get sick. The United States spends twice what some countries spend per capita on health care because of our profit-driven system. Many patients are still left out.

That the Supreme Court will decide the meaning of the words “established by the State” is ludicrous. “State” is not just Texas or Georgia; it is a body politic, especially one constituting a nation. We all need the state to organize payment for our health care. When we leave it to the profit-driven insurance industry, it tries to avoid that expense.

Dr. Deborah Schumann resides in Bethesda, Md.