Letter to the Editor: GOP health plan will make things worse

Editor:

The health care legislation being proposed by the Republicans won’t address the health care needs of Americans, but will only make things worse. This is because it puts the interests of the insurance, pharmaceutical, and hospital corporations ahead of the welfare of Americans.

Congress has failed to address the fundamental problem with the American health care system. America spends 17.3 percent of GDP on health care, much more than any other developed country. Yet we rank 31st in the world in overall health. A quarter of all military recruits can’t pass the physical exam, illness leads to 60 percent of all bankruptcies, and millions of Americans have no insurance or are under insured.

The American health care system has evolved to pay physicians and hospitals to do something to you; a test, procedure, prescription, or surgery – not to listen, educate and keep you healthy. The result is that we don’t have “health care,” we have disease management care. Yes, we do have the best care in the world for serious problems, but you must get sick first!

Most of our current health care costs are driven by preventable, lifestyle problems; diet, lack of exercise, stress, drugs, smoking, etc. Doctors don’t get paid to take the time to listen, encourage and educate you about these issues. Given the time they are allowed, it’s easier to give you a prescription or order a test.

All Americans deserve to have health care that provides them with quality preventative care. This can be best accomplished by including an option for “Medicare for all” with adequate reimbursement for primary care. Medicare provides much better care for the dollar; it doesn’t pay 6 percent of premium to shareholders, exorbitant salaries to executives or run expensive ads. Imagine if all Americans had basic health care that focused on keeping you healthy! We could all save money, we would be healthier, there would be fewer bankruptcies, businesses wouldn’t have to spend as much on insurance and America would be more secure and prosperous.

Call Bob Goodlatte and ask him to provide the necessary resources for your health, not to line the pockets of big health care corporations.

Dr. N.C. Kirkland, Edinburg

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