The Maine Voices column by Randy Schwartz and Dennis DeSilvey (“Proposed health legislation puts Maine’s most vulnerable people at risk,” May 10) asserts that it would be discriminatory if people with life-threatening chronic diseases could not afford adequate health coverage.

The column further implies that it would be discriminatory if insurers could charge those with pre-existing conditions more than healthy people are charged. Although this kind of argument is often made, it does not make it valid, which may be appreciated by considering the opposite view.

If people with life-threatening chronic diseases can afford adequate health coverage, it means that other people are subsidizing them. Life-threatening chronic diseases, by their nature, are expensive to treat. Those other people who are subsidizing them do not choose to do so.

Rather, they are being forced into this position by laws that raise their health care costs above what they would be otherwise.

Similarly, if people with pre-existing conditions are charged the same as healthy people, it means that healthy people are subsidizing them. Those with pre-existing conditions are more likely to require expensive health care than those without those conditions.

When health care costs rise, we all pay in numerous unseen ways, including the cost of purchasing a new car and the cost of educating our young.

Last year we spent $125 billion on cancer care alone, and by 2020 may spend $207 billion on it. With the healthy paying the costs of the sick (and so contributing to those rising costs), the entire country is heading for the poorhouse.