Dr. E. Walworth: Embrace national health plan

Economic competition would not bring big Pharma or medical suppliers to their knees; it would just make them leaner and more efficient. As T.R. Reid points out in "The Health of America," health insurance companies in Europe, required to be nonprofits, still vie for customers.

Whenever I hear the label "socialist" applied to "Obamacare," I wonder if those people using those terms realize that all other industrial First-World countries that have universal, government-supported health care are democracies.

Britons may tinker with their national health and some wealthy Canadians may come to the states to jump the queue, but no such country has rejected its overall health plan.

New Zealand, the origin of bungee jumping, and Australia, home to Mad Max, are healthy places, in no small part due to their universal coverage. One can pay for a supplementary care plan, but basic coverage is available to all.

There are aspects of medical care in this country — such as 40 to 50 million citizens without health insurance — that make the U.S. resemble the Third World.

If we embrace such socialistic notions as Medicare and Social Security, for which all of us pay, what is wrong with the notion of a national health plan? As a prime minister of England (Benjamin Disraeli) once said: "The health of the people is really the foundation upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a state depend."

Edward Walworth, Lewiston

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Zack Lenhert's picture

The people who attack the

The people who attack the Affordable Care Act do so out of purely political reasons. The individual mandate was first developed by the Cato institute and proposed by republicans as an alternative to Hillary Clinton's proposed employer mandate.

So now we get to witness so called conservatives bash their own ideas in order to score petty political points.

You can tell me that more than 50% of Americans disapprove of the bill but I would argue that a sizable portion is people that think it didn't go far enough and would prefer 'single payer'.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

On second reading of this

On second reading of this letter, I wondered what would be the outcome if someone was successful at bringing “Pharma or medical supplies” to their knees.

Why would these companies continue to do business on their knees?
Why wouldn’t they just shutter the doors and move on?
What would you do then Dr. Walworth if these business close?

Why would companies invest in RND if they cannot make money at it? How would this give us new drugs?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“If we embrace such

“If we embrace such socialistic notions as Medicare and Social Security, for which all of us pay, what is wrong with the notion of a national health plan?”

According to a 2010 report written by Emilee Mooney Scott, a Legislative Fellow, medicare alone has an unfunded liability of over $13.4 Trillion.

Does this nation want, or can this nation tolerate economically another program that it cannot fund?

Perhaps my attitude about nationalized healthcare would be different if I felt the Government was more competent at managing these programs.

Lastly, ask yourself if you would enjoy a marginal tax rate of 60-70% to fund this program?

 's picture

I embrace ObamaCare wholeheartedly!

Except for a few minor reservations.

(-) It was passed without even one Republican vote. So much for the bipartisanship Democrats demand when they're not firmly in the majority.

(-) It's 2700 pages long and incomprehensible, even to its anonymous authors, and especially to Democrats in Congress, who didn't even read what they voted for. Their approval rating shows what people think of their performance.

(-) Groups tasked with trying to comprehend it, like the CBO, underestimated its cost by a factor of 2. With friends like that, ObamaCare doesn't need more enemies. But it's getting them.

(-) Since passage, support has eroded because of the above and other reasons, to the present when a "healthy" majority wants it repealed.

But never mind. Stop thinking, be happy, and embrace it, as we join all those enlightened but bankrupt "democracies".

Jason Theriault's picture

1. Woopy do. How many things

1. Woopy do. How many things have passed through the Maine State Congress without democratic support this session?

2. It is not incomprehensible. Have you even tried reading it? I HAVE. I HAVE READ THE WHOLE THING. And most people in congress read it. The quote from Nacy Pelosi was “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it, away from the fog of controversy." and she said that to a trade group, not to congress. But when political hacks get their fangs into a quote, most people don't bother to verify it.

3. Latest CBO estimates show the pirce going down.

4. SHow me some poll numbers. The most recent numbers from Gallup show that 45% though congress did a good thing in passing health care reform(as opposed to the 44% who thought it was a bad thing.)

MARK GRAVEL's picture

(-) Since passage, support

(-) Since passage, support has eroded because of the above and other reasons, to the present when a "healthy" majority wants it repealed.

Perhaps people are just now getting to read it.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Wasn't it San Fran Nan

Wasn't it San Fran Nan (Pelosi) who said we had to pass the bill in order to find out what was in it?

Jason Theriault's picture


Thats what happens when you end a quote mid sentence.

“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it, away from the fog of controversy."


PAUL ST JEAN's picture

What she said stands on its

What she said stands on its (no, parrot, you don't put an apostrophe there) merit and does not require your semantical qualifier of context for the meaning of what she said to be understood.

 's picture

that's a good one!

Where in the constitution is it written laws can only be passed if at least one republican votes for it? Funny, I thought 60 senators might be enough.

Since the approval ratings for Democrats in congress is higher than Republican approval ratings, what does that say about real Americans' opinions of Republicans?

Of course you have an objective, non-partisan source for your CBO statement.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Perhaps you should quantify

Perhaps you should quantify congressional approval ratings for the readers.

The sole of my shoe is higher than the street, but they are both still pretty low.

Isn’t congressional approval somewhere around 14%?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Wait till November; gosh,

Wait till November; gosh, President Romney has such a nice ring to it. The parrot wants me to have that installed as the ring tone on his cell phone, "President Romney".

AL PELLETIER's picture

Don't install it yet there parrot

Your boy better be shi--ing and getting cause he ain't doin so well in the polls. I think there's going to be lots of Republicans in the Senate and House getting their walking papers. Perhaps "so long Boner" would be a more accurate ring tone.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You've been around as long as

You've been around as long as the Pirate, Al, and we both know that the only polls that matter are the voting booths on election night. Everything else is political posturing.
I don't know, Al; I think OBAMABEGONE has an awfully nice ring to it.

AL PELLETIER's picture

good ring tone, Paul

But I kinda like "thegongbewithromney".

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Yeah, that might be pretty

Yeah, that might be pretty appropriate; after his second term. 0O:-)

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Don’t count your chickens

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. I’m sure Obama will do his best to buy as many votes as possible with taxpayer’s dollars, or should I say a subset of taxpayer’s dollars taken from those who are considered rich.

AL PELLETIER's picture

National Health Care

Well said Dr. Walworth, I couldn't agree more. Malpractice suits, obscene profits, more then obscene costs for medical procedures, health insurance company rip-offs and on and on describes what we have now. It's time for more then ObamaCare, it's time to overhaul our whole, out of control, healthcare situation.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Yes, and put it into the

Yes, and put it into the hands of an out of control government, who has no track record of fraud waste and abuse – yea.

Note that Medicare fraud cost the taxpayer about $60 Billion a year, and let’s not forget all the lost dollars investing in green energy.

I really can’t comprehend the blind trust people have in government, but I guess that is easier than thinking for one’s self.

AL PELLETIER's picture

Thinking for one's self?

Mark, I thought for myself for 50 years and now that I've earned my Medicare and Social Security benefits I don't have to think quite so much in my old age. Lovin it!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Are you aware that without

Are you aware that without some kind of SSI reform, by the year 2033, the current 'fund' will only be able to cover 75% of benefit requirements? Hopefully, the geezers among us won't be among the 25% that get shafted.

AL PELLETIER's picture

2033 ?

I ' ll be dead and cremated by then, Paul so once again, frankly Scarlet I don't give a damn!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

That's only 21 years from

That's only 21 years from now. What if you survive?

AL PELLETIER's picture


If I do live to 86 years old my wife will be 68 and hopefully able to care for me, I have my VA medical benefits, extensive property holdings, royalties from my music and my books. so I really ain't worried about 21 years from now. I MAY BE FRENCH, BUT I AIN'T TUPID! -----Paul.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

So, you married a younger

So, you married a younger girl, eh? Smart move. The Pirate did the same thing; I was 40, she had just turned 26. One of the brightest moves I've ever made.
If I make it to 86, I'll have to rely on buried treasure, but as I get older, it becomes more and more difficult to remember where I buried the damn stuff.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I hope you get the level of

I hope you get the level of care you imagine you’ll receive. That will change at some point, either through policy, financial necessity, or both.

So how should other people feel knowing they are contributing to a system that may not be there for them. I suspect those people want to keep that money in their own pocket to care for themselves.

In closing, keep in mind those people who put trust in Bernie Madoff; checking your mind at the door exposes you to becoming a victim. Never stop thinking.


Fraud ,waste and abuse

So there's fraud, waste and abuse in the governent's administration of Medicare. What about the health insurance companies? No fraud, waste and abuse there? What about hospitals, and medical equipment companies? No waste and fraud there? To quote the bumper sticker " I would rather my life depended on someone who didn't care if I died than on someone who's job depended on it". And as for cost , you would have to go a long way to beat a 200% increase in premiums in less than 10 years.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Claire, The government is

The government is spending taxpayer’s money; they have the responsibility to not be defrauded at the taxpayer’s expense. The government should question and refuse to pay for unnecessary billing like in Frank’s example below.

The buck stops with the administrators, but who cares when it is not your money to being with, where is the incentive to be frugal.

I would tell the Government that if they are not capable of fighting fraud, then let me keep my own money for I am fully capable.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Hey Claire here's a good one for you.

I went to CMMC, when I fell and injured my shoulder. That was when I had no health insurance about a year ago. They took an x-ray, informed me nothing was broken then put me in one of those cloth slings and sent me on my way.
I paid for the medical and x-ray out of pocket as I expected. Then I got a second bill from a private company that supplies CMMC with medical supplies. They are based in Massachusetts, but have an office in Bangor. They tried charging me 107.00 for a six dollar item. I had already bought a new one at CVS, because the hospital sling was a piece of crap. CVS's cost 6.95. They called me and wrote me when I refused to pay the bill. Finally I told them in Bangor. They could send anyone they want to my house and I'll pay what they deserve. Its been a year or so now and haven't heard from them again.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Frank, I would think once you

I would think once you settled charges with the Hospital for all services render at their facility, then that is that, the contract is compete.

I had a similar experience. I needed to see a doctor, but had no insurance at the time. I made an appointment, and paid $70.00 for the visit. The office later billed me for an additional $50.00.

In fact, the Doctor’s office insisted I pay in full prior to being seen by the Doctor; I complied.
In closing, I told them to go pound sand for the additional $50.00 since our contract was for $70.00, especially when the office wanted cash before the Doctor would even see me.

You did the right thing by standing up to them. Where else do you go buy a good or service, pay the bill, then get additional charges, certainly not at wal*mart.

All charges should be present at the point of service – period.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Claire, Having a private

Having a private insurance policy, it is my responsibility to review all expenses billed to my insurance company and notify them of fraudulent a actively.

Like Medicare, private insurers know what procedures cost, so one of the only door’s to fraud is billing for procedure’s that are not provided.

For some reason, that concept alludes Medicare. If it did not, then we would not have as much fraud.


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