November 11, 2015

We Need Single-Payer Health Care for All

Dear Rep. Jody Hice,

Every day Americans die from lack of affordable health care or endure bankruptcy in their efforts to finance health care for themselves and their family. Yet we claim to be the wealthiest nation in the world. The Affordable Care Act was a step forward in an effort to provide health care for all Americans, although it does not meet the needs of all Americans. Georgians, like all Americans, deserve a single-payer health care program for all our people, as is typical of all other modern, democratic nations around the world. In fact, many poor and non-democratic governments provide better health care for all their people than does the U.S.

We must avoid confusing health care with health insurance. As has been demonstrated numerous times, health insurers in the U.S. make greater profits by denying health care to supposedly insured persons. In reality, we have a very expensive, complex program that provides billions in profits annually to health insurers, health exchanges, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical suppliers and many other profiteers—including elected officials—of these and related enterprises. Unfortunately, the number of enterprises profiting from our health care needs increases as our access to adequate health care declines. Few of us are blind to the uncontrolled increases in profits to pharmaceutical companies thanks to a Congress unwilling to approve the right of Medicare to negotiate prices for prescription drugs. Americans living near our borders schedule trips to Canada or Mexico in order to purchase needed prescriptions at more reasonable prices. Growing profits for ever wealthier health enterprises mean decreasing access to adequate health care for Georgians.

Taxpayers in Georgia and throughout the U.S. have long provided excellent, universal health care for elected officials. They respect elected officials enough not to offer them a voucher to be used in their quest for health care. It is past time for you to provide the same health care for all Americans that you provide for yourself in order to demonstrate that you do, in fact, represent the people of Georgia.

Medicare was a first step in providing universal health care for seniors. We should extend that program to all Americans; negotiate, as do other nations, for reasonable prescription drug prices; and have a single-payer, government-regulated administration of our health care program so that denial of adequate health care should never be a reason for profit for any private enterprise. The health of our children and of all adults is too valuable to be subject to the whims and avarice of those whose primary goal is to make a profit.

You and others we elect to represent us in the national legislature must take action to provide universal health care. Our lives depend upon your providing for us as we are providing for your health care.