Medicare for All Deserves Support

October 04, 2018

Bennington Banner

For-profit health care is destroying our nation. Small business proprietors are driven out of business trying to cover the ever rising (8-10 percent) cost of health care premiums. Medications are rising at over 10 percent. Larger companies have trouble giving deserved raises when the cost of care is rising so quickly.

Today, the leading cause of bankruptcy is a major illness in the family. At the same time, we spend more per capita on health care than any other developed country. Why do we pay so much and get so little?

We are the only country that relies on a for-profit medical system. With every merger of payers, prices increase and our choice of physician and carrier diminish.

Likewise, every pharmacy company merger drives large increases in drug prices. This happens despite fact that most pharmaceutical discoveries are made by research universities who are federally funded and sell the patent to these companies.

There is no truth to the claim of the drug industry that costs are so high due to their research. Their largest costs are for TV advertisements and major contributions to members of Congress to insure that they can continue to bleed the country dry.

There is only one solution: We need to return health care to caring for patients regardless of their income, education and when and where they need it and without other barriers but as a human right. We also need to carefully monitor pharmacy benefit managers to determine whether they are actually saving money for the system.

Single payer eliminates all of the second guessers and allows physicians to do their work and not worry whether the patient can afford the needed treatment. There are several ways in which this could happen. Personally, having visited England and Canada, I am supporting Medicare for all, which is affordable and could be instituted most rapidly. Part of that system would be negotiation with pharmaceutical companies for the 40 percent discount that the VA receives.

I urge everyone to seriously consider joining the campaign.

Dr. Robert Block,
The writer is past president of the Vermont Medical Society and a member of the GMCB Advisory Board