Get on board for better health care

Heads up, "tea party" fans -- you may be on the wrong boat.

Administrative costs for Medicaid and Medicare run about 4 percent, vs. 12 percent to 20 percent for private plans. The arguments against universal health care are fueled by greed. Look at who's funding the anti-health-care ads. Those who skimp on health-care services to make bonuses are the ones we should not be sailing with.

I am in favor of a public option for universal health care coverage. For the past 28 years I have worked as a health-care provider. Currently I practice in two states. If I get ill or have an accident outside my primary state, I will have a huge co-pay for services. With a public option, I still would pay for insurance, but could use it anywhere in the United States without penalty.

Many of my relatives and friends work full-time without benefits. Their incomes prohibit the purchase of affordable health-care policies. They are productive citizens, yet they still operate in the pre-1960s world in which you use the emergency room for primary care, and you go to the hospital for emergency surgery or death.

The argument that we currently are free to "choose our own doctors," and that health-care decisions are made "between us and our doctors," is bogus. Insurance companies maintain lists of approved providers, and providers must be pre-approved to be paid for. I do not fear public care. I receive it, and it is good.

As a Christian, I believe that I am my brother's keeper. All of us deserve health care. Preventive and primary care for all will improve the health of our families and communities, and decrease the need for high-cost tertiary care.

Universal primary care with a public option is the boat I'm on. So let's stop smoking, walk daily, examine our consciences and get on board for better health.

Mary K. Sykes

Augusta

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