YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE

Apparently reporters writing about health care proposals have not read the third paragraph in the current Assembly Select Committee report, which clearly states that health care spending across California from all sources totals about $400 billion and that our health care is already 71 percent publicly funded. Nor does it seem that writers have read the SB 562 financial analysis from the Political Economy Research Institute written by well-respected economists. (Available online to anyone interested in actually understanding the financing of this single-payer proposal).

The overall health care savings to the state accrued in SB 562 would be $37 billion, a very conservative estimate, while covering everyone for quality privately delivered care and broadly expanded services at half the cost. Out-of-pocket costs to individuals like the premiums, copays and deductibles now threatening some with financial ruin would disappear and be replaced by a very modest 2.3 percent sales tax.

The savings comes from eliminating the profit-driven multi-payer insurance system with its ever-escalating premiums, denials of care and byzantine administrative tasks that currently drain one-third to one-half of our spending away from delivery of care and into shareholder profits, unnecessary complexity, wasteful bureaucracy and exorbitant CEO salaries.

Countries all over the world spend much less and have better health outcomes than Americans. People in Europe or Taiwan or Tunisia do not experience medical debt or medical bankruptcy. No one in a single-payer system dies because they were denied care or had treatment delayed or priced out of their means. But this happens every day in the “your money or your life” tragedy of the US health insurance system.

People suffer physically, emotionally and economically in this unequal and unjust quagmire. Americans are providing Wall Street profiteers “wealth care for a few” rather than “health care for all.” We can’t afford not to have a single-payer system. Now is the time.

  

~  MAUREEN CRUISE, RN

DIRECTOR HEALTH CARE FOR ALL

LOS ANGELES CHAPTER

GUNS AND CARS

There were 33,636 deaths due to firearms in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while Japan sees 10 or fewer a year. We all must agree that the rates are much higher in the US, as are the quantity of gun owners.

But now let’s look at another killer here in the US and compare that to other highly developed countries. More people die in car crashes each year in the United States than in any other high-income country, according to the CDC. In 2013, more than 32,000 people died on US roads, roughly 90 fatalities per day. The US has seen a 31 percent reduction in its motor vehicle death rate per capita over the past 13 years. But compared with 19 other wealthy countries, which have declined an average of 56 percent during the same period, the US has the slowest decrease. [Road death rates in countries such as Spain and Denmark have dropped 75.1 percent and 63.5 percent, respectively.] If the United States had reduced its death rate to the average of other countries, 18,000 more lives would have been saved, according to the CDC report.

According to these statistics, the automobile appears to be almost as deadly as the firearm. Gun control advocates argue that more guns always lead to more deaths, whether they are accidental or intentional. A child’s or an adult’s right to live life is profoundly more important than any person’s right to own deadly weapons, they say. Are not automobiles also a source of death? True, the automobile was not designed to be a killer, but, as we see by the statistics, it often is — just about as much as the gun. The automobile certainly appears to be a pretty efficient instrument of death. Although private ownership and operation of an automobile are not covered by the Constitution, should we consider limiting ownership/operation of the automobile? Both the automobile and gun take lives when used carelessly or maliciously. Should a child’s or an adult’s right to live life be less important than another person’s right to own and operate an automobile?

Don’t get me wrong. It’s horrible when people use a gun to take another person’s life. However, guns aren’t the only instruments — consider automobiles and drugs also.

~ RAY BLATTEL

VIA EMAIL

LETTERS WANTED

Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. To share news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman by writing to andrec@pasadenaweekly.com or calling (626) 584-1500, ext. 114.