Register-Guard, JUNE 20, 2015
by Charlie Swanson, HCAO Eugene
With U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., running for president, we should elevate the conversation about health care in this country.
Sanders has introduced federal legislation to treat health care as a public good. Timely, high-quality health care helps not just individuals, but also society as a whole.
We spend more tax money on health care than nearly every other industrialized nation, yet lots of additional private resources are still needed. Why do we have such expensive care? Largely because we divide people into numerous risk pools.
Those most likely to have costly health care are covered primarily at taxpayer expense: older people and disabled people through Medicare, poor people through Medicaid, veterans through Veterans Affairs, active duty military through Tricare.
We leave those with the lowest risk, primarily workers and their families, to be covered by private health insurers. That ensures the profitability of insurance companies, which taxpayers subsidize because employer-provided insurance isn’t taxed.