To the editor: Life expectancy at birth is better in 39 countries than it is in the U.S., even though we are the richest country in the world (CIA World Factbook). Obviously, we value other things more than we value human health. All of the Europeans live longer, as do people in South Korea, Bermuda, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, among many more. There are other measures of health, too, that demonstrate the failures of unequal medical care. (See the Global Health Security Index). We don’t really score very well on any of them, sadly, with the wealthy and those in grinding poverty living together in our highly stratified society but not sharing equal access to medical care.
In a recent NPR story, a young man describes his medical issues resulting from the flu, which have left him in lifetime debt before the age of 30, even though he has insurance. He states that “The biggest crime you can commit in America is being sick.” Medical debt is an extreme problem for Americans, with at least 30% of the population having outstanding medical bills. Two-thirds of Americans avoid seeking medical care because of the cost (Pew Research). There is simply no doubt that we have a huge, unresolved problem with our health care system. The Affordable Care Act tried to solve some of these issues but didn’t do enough.
Our current health care system impacts small businesses, individuals, families and ultimately our entire economy. The insufficiencies in our health care system have helped kill thousands during this epidemic. If none of this rings true to you, you must be either very rich or very lucky.
With all this in mind, consider carefully who you’re voting for this November. Perhaps the status quo isn’t really all that great for the richest country in the world. Consider voting for candidates who have new and creative solutions to our health care problems; do your research. Perhaps those who’ve been running things for a while now and who have no motivation to solve these problems need to be replaced. Vote!