A recent article in the Portland Press Herald has provided us with yet another reason why we should fund health care in our country through a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system.

On Oct. 31, the paper reported (“FairPoint to end health care benefits for strikers”) that FairPoint Communications had informed its striking workers that it would stop providing their health care benefits.

This is certainly understandable – why should a company provide anything to workers who are not working?

But more to the point, why do we tolerate a health care system in which we give employers control over employees’ access to health care? In which employers can use that access as a bargaining chip in labor negotiations?

And looking at the situation from the employers’ point of view, why do we tolerate a system in which they are saddled with the responsibility for their employees’ health insurance and then have to negotiate with them, and the insurers, about it? Don’t employers have better uses for their time?

No, if we all simply paid into a separate insurance system – like Medicare, but covering everybody – then workers, negotiators and owners alike would be free to focus on their proper business.

Daniel C. Bryant, M.D.
Cape Elizabeth