I much appreciated the recent op-ed published in which Albert A. DiMillo Jr. confronted Sen. Susan Collins’ pathetic self-justification of her vote in favor of the Republican tax scam. He focused on taxation issues specifically, but the implications for health care are at least as dangerous.

By nonpartisan assessment, repealing the individual mandate will result in 13 million fewer people with insurance coverage, some by choice, and others forced out by higher premiums due to a smaller and sicker risk pool. However, none of these 13 million souls will cease needing health care. Just like before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the cost of their uncompensated care will be borne by others who have insurance and/or it will worsen the strains on already struggling rural hospitals.

She notes that 80 percent of people paying the individual mandate penalty make less than $50,000 per year. I imagine those same people lack sufficient savings to pay the cost of a single major health crisis.

Sen. Collins also says the bill will trigger no automatic cuts to Medicare. True, but misleading. The triggering mechanism was the former pay-as-you-go rules controlling paying for budgetary costs. If these rules are suspended to preserve Medicare from what would otherwise be automatic cuts in order to balance the budget, this only deepens the deficit caused by their tax policy. A worsening deficit will eventually have to be dealt with, and only a true fool would believe Medicare, as well as Medicaid and Social Security, will be spared from the chopping block.

She asserts the United States cannot continue to have the highest corporate tax rate, because we are losing jobs. Well, we also cannot continue to have the most expensive (not to mention the most inefficient and unequitable) health care system in the world. We are losing lives.

Ann Morrill

South Portland

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