In the United States, we pay epic amounts of money for a broken health care system that covers too few people. Despite paying $2 trillion a year ($6,697 per person), more than 45 million Americans have no health insurance, and many more have coverage that does not work for them.

Health insurance makes up a large part of my business expenses, and it is crushing for other small and large businesses around the United States. Not only is improving the system better for the health of our people, it is better for the health of our economy.

When we look to the 36 other industrialized nations that offer better, cost-effective coverage than is available in the U.S., one key feature of each system is a public health insurance plan.

We cannot afford to go any longer with so many Americans uninsured, nor can we rely on private health insurance companies to cover our needs. That’s why we need a public option immediately, and Congress needs to pass a health care reform bill before the August recess. I heard one senator on the radio say he wanted to “wait for the recess to talk with our constituents about what they want.”

Well, constituents have been asking for health care reform for 20 years now. I doubt any senator will learn much more about their constituents while on vacation. We need health care reform to happen before the August recess.

Craig Saddlemire, Lewiston

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