Greatest country needs great health care

I don’t have the impressive credentials of the letter writer of Aug. 27 regarding Obamacare. I am just a 73-year-old on Medicare but I read a lot and take great interest in what our leaders say and do in Washington and in Ohio. I do believe, however, that Democrats have the best track record when it comes to looking out for the average person and I just don’t understand why we can’t come together and work together for the greater good.

The United States is the only modern industrialized nation that doesn’t have universal health care. Many of us wanted single-payer (like Medicare) but President Obama compromised by patterning his health care plan after the successful Romneycare plan in Massachusetts and the Republicans continue to reject it which was their plan to start with. Obamacare is not perfect but it lets us keep the health care that we have, holds down costs and extends health care to millions more Americans.

Quoting from Our Opinion, Marietta Times, Tuesday, July 30, 2013: “Babies are at higher risk in Ohio than almost anywhere else in the country. The state’s infant-mortality rate was at 7.7 per 1,000 births in 2010 – putting Ohio fourth worst in the nation.” Governor Kasich wanted to expand Medicaid, the Republicans didn’t and now there is talk of drastically cutting Medicaid in Ohio. Ohio lawmakers are cutting funding for Planned Parenthood which will mean more unwanted pregnancies. Why are women encouraged to have children that they cannot afford and with the possibility of losing their Medicaid in the future? And if babies are at high risk now, what will Ohio look like after cuts to Medicaid?

I know that doctors and hospitals are drowning in paperwork and bureaucracy which cuts into the bottom line. But I would like to know why there is such variability in cost from hospital to hospital, city to city and from state to state for the same procedure. Evidently Medicare and the insurance companies have figured this out for our benefit but to the dismay of doctors and hospitals. And I would also like to know why the poorest people with no health insurance pay the most – often leading to bankruptcy or doing without.

In recent years, American doctors have been organizing trips to third-world countries where they give life-saving treatment to those without access to health care. They have also been donating a few hours of their time and expertise in this country to deliver health care to those without. Thousands of people line up all night to be seen by doctors, dentists and surgeons for the care that they desperately need and cannot afford. This is a shameful situation in the “greatest country in the world” where we have the “best health care in the world” – if you can afford adequate health insurance.

Carol Lazear Mitchell