Letter to the Gazette Times, December 15, 2015
by Mike Huntington, M.D, Corvallis
The Dec. 2 issue of the Gazette-Times reported that health care spending in the United States increased by 5.3 percent in 2014 to $9,523 for every man, woman, and child, (twice that spent by other countries). This unsustainable escalation cannot be blamed on or reversed by Obamacare. It has been going on for decades and will continue until we designate health care a common good like education and stop using it as a profit-generating commodity.
Employers can no longer afford effective health care insurance plans for their employees and are either dropping health insurance altogether or switching to “consumer-directed” high-deductible plans. These plans are devastating to the personal finances of families who must meet high deductibles and other cost sharing year after year. Forget retirement funds, college funds, and vacations. Plan to spend time with bill collectors and bankruptcy referees.
When you think about the financial protection you should be receiving from your health plan, it is deplorable that one-third of those who have the greatest needs for health care are exposed to years of recurrent, persisting financial burdens simply because of the fundamentally flawed design of our private health care plans. It is right to question if this is even "insurance."
A single unified payer system with first dollar coverage would eliminate the unbearable burden of high medical bills that many individuals face under our current dysfunctional health care financing system. Intrusive, private, third-party money managers need to get out of the way. Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates (mvhca.org) welcome your help in making this happen.