Letter to the Editor: A broken system
BY Bradley C. Byers, Tulsa
Friday, September 21, 2012
9/21/12 at 3:10 AM
Frederick Allen, leadership editor of Forbes magazine, has Crohn's disease, which killed his brother. With treatments, Allen survives. Employer-provided insurance pays the $70,000 annual cost.
You may not have such good insurance - 50 million have none. Allen wrote, "Health care in America works for people like me ... but for our nation at large the system is broken."
Medical costs trigger more than half of all personal bankruptcies. Without the Affordable Care Act - Obamacare - if Allen lost his job he could not get insurance. He would be doomed to die as his brother did.
Each year, Americans spend $8,000 per person for health care, half again as much as any other country. But we die younger than in any other advanced nation.
Allen says, "Our (broken) system pits doctors against insurers" and insurance companies against patients. Beginning in 2014, Obamacare requires every insurer to cover pre-existing conditions, spreads costs by requiring everyone to participate and helps pay for those who cannot afford it.
The law controls some costs but needs to do more. Allen writes that the CEO of United Health Group was paid $102 million in 2009, the most of any American executive. The money came from our insurance premiums. Allen quotes the former editor of a prestigious medical journal: "The only way to (cover everybody) while containing costs" is with a single-payer system. That's either the "public option" or extended Medicare, exactly what conservatives would not allow in Obamacare.
Many Oklahomans hate Obamacare. Allen does not.
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