LETTER: How Do We Address the Healthcare Crisis?

Amendment 69, ColoradoCare, failed to pass in last November’s election. The majority of voters were not ready to approve an initiative that would have saved money and lives.

But the problems have not changed.

87,000 people in Colorado have no health insurance at all.

350,000 are underinsured. If you have a deductable of $5,000 or more, you aren’t going to seek medical help until you are desperate.

Over 500 Coloradans will die every year from medical problems that could have been prevented or managed.

Doctors are still pushed to see a patient for only 8 minutes.

There are still 10 administrative bureaucrats hired for every doctor who graduates from medical school.

The United States still pays prices that are twice as much as any other country on medical care.

The U.S. still spends twice as much as any other country on medicines.

Medicare still is not allowed to negotiate prices of medicines with the big pharmaceutical companies.

Obamacare is still set up as a tiered system: platinum, gold, silver, and bronze levels. Are the worths of people’s lives a tiered system?

Getting into Obamacare is more complicated than playing Chutes and Ladders.

The big, for-profit insurance companies worked behind the scenes to set up Obamacare.

If a person can’t afford or chooses not to use Obamacare, she still has to pay a fine for receiving nothing.

There are still 3,100 lobbyists working for the health industry — six for every Congressperson.

Twenty cents out of every premium dollar still goes to the for-profit medical insurance companies for administration and shareholder profits.

This compares to 3.5 cents per dollar that Medicare spends for administration.

The average CEO pay is 243 times that of the average worker. Is he 243 times more productive?

The out-of-state for-profit medical insurance companies are leaving Obamacare because they didn’t think it was profitable enough.

For-profit medical insurance companies have a conflict of interest between funding good medical care and profits for their shareholders.

Medical insurance premiums are going up in unpredictable rates.

60 percent of bankruptcies are still because of unexpected health emergencies.

Health outcomes such as infant mortality and well being of children put the U.S. about 34th in the world. Life expectancy is 26th.

The U.S. is still the only developed country that does not provide universal health care for its citizens.

At least 58% of US citizens favor universal health care.

So why do we tolerate this? Do you remember the story about the frogs in the boiling water? There is one pot of water on the stove that is boiling. There is another that has lukewarm water in it. A frog is tossed into the boiling water and immediately jumps out. Another frog is put into the lukewarm water and the temperature is slowly increased. That frog gets cooked. Has medical insurance increased and worsened so insidiously that we haven’t noticed?

The thousands of volunteers who worked to pass ColoradoCare aren’t giving up. We are studying what needs to be improved and plan to offer another path to universal health care. The president-elect just announced he intends for everyone to have health care. People in 17 other states as well are working on universal health care plans. I urge all of us to engage our elected representatives and support a moral and financial solution to this unfair, destructive health care mess.

Constance Fox, MD
Mancos, Colorado

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