Caledonian Record

To the Editor:

There has been a lot of discussion about how rising healthcare costs are indeed driving up property taxes. I haven’t seen any recognition that these costs are a major reason that everything costs so much. The price of everything you buy includes an amount for the health care of every person that produced, distributed and sold that product. The cost of replacing the roof on your house includes an amount for the health care of every person who made the roofing materials, distributed them, sold them and installed them on your house.

People really need to understand that they ultimately pay these rising costs through taxes, the cost of goods and services, and their own insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pays, et cetera. Since everybody benefits if we get the healthcare costs down, and everyone suffers if we don’t, we should be diligently and objectively examining why healthcare costs are so high.

There is a ton of objective evidence that the major reason is the absurd amount of money we waste simply administering the convoluted commercial insurance system that controls healthcare. In 1991 the GAO concluded that if we adopted a single payer system “the savings in administrative costs alone would be more than enough to finance” universal coverage. Why? Well, for example, U.S. insurers and providers spent $812 billion on administration in 2017, amounting to $2,497 per capita versus $551 per capita in Canada.

Yet most current efforts to “reform” Vermont’s healthcare diligently ignore the administrative burden, focusing instead on vague theories about “payment methods.” If we don’t face reality, articles on rising healthcare costs will be repeated over and over and over….

Lee Russ

Bennington, Vt.