I’m a self-employed person living in Lewiston. Like many people in America, the health insurance industry isn’t working for me. My monthly premium is almost as much as I pay for housing — that’s 30 percent of my income just for health insurance.
I discussed health care with a friend of mine who has lived her entire life in Lyon, France. She said what anyone would expect, “France’s universal healthcare system was expensive.” But, when we compared the amount she spends in taxes each year with the amount I pay for just my private health insurance premium, I was paying slightly more. The major difference was that all of her healthcare needs were covered 100 percent, whereas I also have co-pays, deductibles, and all kinds of conditions that I may learn one day aren’t actually covered by my plan.
In the United States, people pay more for healthcare than other industrialized nations, and far fewer people are covered for each dollar spent.
We don’t need to mimic everything about France’s system, but when examining the countries with affordable universal healthcare, one key feature is clear — the government plays a big role to ensure quality coverage is accessible to everyone.
One of the most important parts of President Barack Obama’s budget is a major investment over 10 years toward expanding health care coverage to every American.  It’s one part of the budget that must remain intact if health care costs are to be brought under control here.
Craig Saddlemire, Lewiston

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