While the withdrawal of the Republican American Health Care Act is certainly welcome, the sad reality is that each year our health care system continues to be shockingly more expensive at the expense of many worthy public systems (e.g., education) and higher wages for workers.

Through both its private and public payer systems, the United States spends more than twice what any other country in the world spends per capita for very mediocre results.

These out-of-control costs are not going to be solved by the Republicans’ beloved free market: The private “free market” in Maine increased at more than 11 percent each year for the 10 years before the 2008 Affordable Care Act and still left more than 50 million uninsured. Nor are these out-of-control costs going to be solved by the Democrats’ beloved single-payer system. It is not like public spending on health care has slowed down.

If both parties parked their ideology – “free market” for the Republicans and “more access” for the Democrats – and focused jointly on ending fee for service and getting employers out of the business of providing health insurance, there would be enough savings to pay for health care for all through either a public, Canadian system, or a private, Swiss-like system.

Health care is now about 22 percent of the Maine economy. Both parties can agree that such spending – private or public – is insane. Both parties can agree that fee for service needs to end. And then when the purchasing is made rational, we may be surprised that paying for health care for all is not that tough.

John Lambert

Cumberland Foreside