A new era of health care

This is in response to the letter titled “Obamacare is an Abomination.”

When I was growing up during the ‘40s and ‘50s, health care was simple. The ultimate medicine was penicillin and the ultimate technology was X-ray and no one had insurance. If you had a problem that these could not find or cure, exploratory surgery was performed, the problem was found [or not], you were sewn back up, and a few days later you were sent home to either recover or die. Only the poorest could not afford this, and those were usually taken care of by the generosity of the medical establishment. I still have a double-barrel shotgun given to my great uncle, who was a country doctor, for delivering a baby for a farmer’s wife.

Today, things are different. Because of tremendous advances in medicine and technology, medical costs have gone through the roof. Without health care insurance, even middle-class families cannot afford the cost of a serious illness, and working class families cannot afford the cost of even basic health care. Some long-term medications cost hundreds of dollars a year, an MRI costs over $3,000 and a CAT-scan costs over $5,000. Leaving it to market forces would not solve this. The private sector and the health care industry cannot solve this, and it would be too chaotic if left up to the individual states. Who but the federal government can address this problem? Wages have not kept up with health care cost, and emergency rooms were never meant to be free or to take place of family physicians.

The Affordable Healthcare Act [Obamacare] may not be the best answer, but right now, it’s the only one we have. Before we repeal it, let’s amend it or replace it. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Dennis Thompson


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