The major opposition to the health-care bill starts with the premise that we must not do anything that will harm the best health-care system in the world. However, this assumption is just plain wrong.
By all objective measures, our health-care system is not even in the world's top 15. Longevity, infant mortality, prenatal care, wellness care, cost and care for the chronically ill are all measurably worse than for most other industrialized countries.
Much of this cost is because that 15 percent of our population has access to health care only through emergency rooms, which means they don't get wellness care and care for chronic conditions. They also wait longer to get help when they become ill, so their conditions are harder and more expensive to treat -- indeed, sometimes it is too late.
Everyone on all sides of the issue knows that the current health-care system in this country is unsustainable. Its continued uncontrolled growth cost will bankrupt us. The Congregational Budget Office, the nonpartisan agency with the most accurate record of projecting costs of proposed programs in Republican and Democratic administrations, estimates the current bills before Congress have cost-control measures that will reduce the overall cost and reduce the deficit. The only substantive changes the Republicans are pushing are to reduce cost-cutting measures.
The Senate is the major obstacle to passage of health-care reform. However, reason and concern for the average person do not seem to mean anything to our senators from Georgia and South Carolina. The Republicans only concern is to make sure the Obama administration fails so they might retake control. Therefore, the purpose of this letter is simply to counter the raising level of fear and distress that is being stoked by the Republicans, Fox TV and hate radio.
Previously, I called the health-care reform measure the great moral question of our time. If that doesn't move you, remember: Most of you reading this are only one downsizing away from having no health insurance.