Why be so scared of government-sponsored health care? Medicare and Medicaid are already available. All modern countries have some kind of government-run health care, with lower costs than ours. We don’t have the best health care system in spite of our outrageous costs. Workers in other countries are not denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions or if they lose their jobs.

U.S. companies charge Americans more for drugs than is charged in other countries. Some companies pay other drug companies not to produce cheap generic drugs. Lobbyists influenced legislation so the government can’t negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare patients.

I believe insurance companies exist for one reason: profit. They stand between people and their doctors, and their workers deny medical claims to increase profits.

Many small employers pay more for health care benefits for workers than large employers do. The same medical procedures have different prices in different parts of the country. And I have heard that heart surgeons are given huge bonuses to change hospitals.

If the richest Americans paid at 1997 federal tax rates, they could help pay for health care. Some of the billions lost to waste and fraud in the military could also go to health care. Once established, the new health system would save billions because of the huge risk pool and related efficiencies.

Americans want health care reform. Our legislators should listen more to voters and less to drug and insurance lobbyists who help finance their campaigns.

Ellen Field, New Gloucester

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