Letters to the editor: Health care offerings broad

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"Consumer's Share Of U.S. Health Outlay Drops," Jan. 31, inadvertently contributes to a misperception about government spending for health care. The article refers only to Medicare and Medicaid as examples of government spending. This is unfortunate given the misguided political attempts to reduce one of the most efficient forms of health insurance.

In fact, government health care spending provides care for many more people, including Department of Defense benefits for both current and retired military personnel; Department of Veterans' Affairs; Indian Health Service; workers' compensation; maternal and child health; Children's Health Insurance Program; federal mental health and addiction treatment programs; and government subsidized purchase of private insurance on behalf of federal, state and local public employees.

It is time to end the artificial distinction between public and private health care spending, useful only for political posturing. Spending is spending. Instead of reducing our popular and efficient government-administered insurance programs, such as Medicare, and instead of cutting benefits for public employees and for the poor, it is time to redirect all spending into a unified, comprehensive and efficient national health insurance program.

This would retain private provision of medical treatment while using the insurance savings to provide expanded benefits for everyone.

CLAUDIA DETWILER

Squirrel Hill

WRITE TO US To submit a letter or an essay for consideration for The Private Sector, please send it via email to business@post-gazette.com or to Post-Gazette Business Section, Private Sector, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. Please include your telephone number, municipality and return address for verification

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