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Letter: Universal health care benefits many, reader says

To the editor,

In a recent issue of the Town Pages, Sen John Kline laid out the Republicans' perspective on universal healthcare.

I vehemently disagreed with every single word. So here is more information, to flesh out the entire picture for readers. I feel I am uniquely qualified to discuss healthcare because I worked in healthcare at the State level, dealing at times with the feds; I have experienced firsthand what disability under age 65 is like -- tremendously expensive, yet limited; and I have done serious advocacy for my illness for 10 years, communicating with doctors, researchers and patients around the world.

The U.S. healthcare system is badly broken, and needs to be dramatically reworked or it will cause the next economic crash.

The problems started in the 1960s, when health maintenance organizations were established and became for profit.

Since the early 1990s, insurers have enjoyed double-digit profits each year, except last year. Those profits go to the shareholders and CEOs. They are not put back into the system, to improve care or cut costs.

These other countries that offer some form of universal healthcare often provide better care -- to all citizens -- than the U.S. system, which has deteriorated terribly. And they manage to do so for far less of their GDP than we do.

When we fully have universal healthcare, in 2014, approximately 40 million paying customers will be added, which will improve the insurers' bottom line. That, and other cost saving measures, are why several of the largest insurers last week announced they'd keep at least parts of Obamacare, even if the Supreme Court kills it. That is important to note.

Yes, it's true that the lowest income folks might require help with their premiums. But those paying the most -- the disabled under age 65, and those with pre-existing conditions -- might actually see a reduction in outlay.

I was paying $8,000 per year. I have managed to reduce that to $6,000 per year by limiting office visits and tests, and by giving up my Medicare, Part B.

The majority of Americans still get their health care from their employers.

This means they are only paying approximately 30 to 50 percent of the real costs, as the employer covers the rest.

When you become unemployed, 100 percent of the costs suddenly become your personal responsibility. This will cost you thousands more.

With universal healthcare, we'd all benefit from community ratings, shared risks and an electronic medical records system that would cut costs, reduce duplication and uncover fraudulent activity.

And all cost reductions and savings would either be put back into the system or be passed along to the patients.

What's not to love? Think of the ways you'd all benefit from all of that.

There is a blatant effort under way by vested interests trying to prevent universal healthcare from happening. We cannot allow their lies, spin, fear-mongering and intimidation to thwart us.

It behooves each and every one of us to carefully and fully research this issue, examine and question media reports and dig deep enough to bring the true facts to light.

We need to question supposed journalists who are too often these days bloggers or commentators sharing their personal opinions -- or worse yet: paid to spout others'.

There are also ever-growing numbers of fake websites out there, paid for by these vested interests, so be very careful which ones you go to, and what/whom you believe.

We all deserve so much better. We must stand up and demand it. Make our voices heard, and make our votes matter.

Or our country as we know it will soon cease to exist and we will all find ourselves in a very altered world very unlike anything we ever imagined.

And our children and grandchildren will be forced to live diminished lives as a result.

My belief -- my hope -- is that only a very small percentage of (twisted, greedy) people in this country actually want that to happen.

LK Woodruff,