Letter: National health care is part of national security

In an evaluation of 11 rich countries by Commonwealth Fund, the U.S. came in last in overall health outcomes and led all countries in inequality of access to care.

Of the 35 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the U.S. relies most on private insurance and out-of-pocket spending to pay for care; in every other country, government spending plays a larger role. Of these countries, the U.S. ranks 25th on health status, is in the bottom third for access to coverage, and has among the fewest doctors and hospital beds per capita. This despite spending twice as much as the average developed country.

The main reason why U.S. health care is expensive and inaccessible is the archaic system of going through insurance companies. These corporations spend a large amount of customers’ premiums on advertising, lobbying and donations to political campaigns. They are self-serving, inefficient and bureaucratically dense.

The rich can afford whatever they need when they fall ill, while the poor may have to choose between medications, utilities, car payments and rent. High out-of-pocket costs increase the financial strain on families; and up to one quarter of all bankruptcies are driven by medical expenses.

Health care, like the military, should not be for-profit and should not be traded on the stock exchange. Considering our military uses most of our taxes and is larger than that of the next seven countries combined, we would be more secure if a portion of this “national security” was used for people’s health.

Brandon Ross

Iowa City

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