A recent letter (“Don’t let government make mess of health care system,” Aug. 1) illustrates the fact that many Americans simply don’t know what good health care should be.

While it may be true that we have “the best health care in the world,” for those who have access to high-quality health plans, millions of Americans still either have no insurance, have limited insurance or are forced to pay astronomically high costs.

Being guaranteed admittance to an emergency room when we are in crisis hardly constitutes acceptable health care! Ironically, denying access to preventive care actually ends up being more expensive in the end, and for worse results. Other developed countries have accepted this fact and instituted universal health care systems; consequently, their costs are far lower while their health outcomes are better than ours. (Look it up!)

I have lived in France, Germany and the Netherlands, and I can attest to the truth of this. When I experienced a medical crisis in the Netherlands, my father, who was then chief of surgery at a major American medical center, judged the care I received to be “identical to what would have been done here (in the United States).”

When I gave birth there, the care I received was better than it would have been here, including adequate time in the hospital followed by daily home visits and coaching afterward. No medical bills. Sound good?

Mary Wheeler

South Portland