J. Sytsma: Improving quality of health care

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Why are Americans spending twice as much for health care as any other industrialized country, and getting less? The U.S. ranks 17th, using commonly-used indicators of quality, and yet millions are left without health insurance.

The government is already paying for the majority of health care, both public and private, supporting insurance corporations whose profits go to their shareholders, CEOs, their growing administrative staffs, paperwork and advertising and lobbying costs.

The government is willing to subsidize premium payments for people who simply cannot afford the ridiculously high costs of insurance.

Under the Affordable Care Act, private insurers still have another year to hike up premiums for pre-existing medical conditions and to place spending caps on individual policyholders.

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In Maine, public law Ch.90 allows insurers to “close out” old policies and renew them at higher rates. It establishes a scale for ongoing rate increases. It allows insurers to “modify” benefits up to 5 percent on existing policies.

Why are the taxpayers protecting those who profit from the dysfunctional health care system while getting less and less for their dollars? Is health care a human necessity, or is it a commodity to be sold only to those who can afford it ?

A nonprofit, single-payer health care system would not only eliminate waste, but would allow this country to improve the quality of care and make health care accessible to everyone. The savings each year would amount to billions of dollars.

Over 10 years’ time, that might help with the national debt problem.

John Sytsma, Farmington

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