It was encouraging to read Dr. Daniel Bryant’s Aug. 13 letter arguing that we could fund Medicare for all for a sum that approximates today’s total national health care expenditure. Thus, for the same money, 100 percent of the population would be insured, all pre-existing conditions would be covered, there would be no lifetime caps and the individual would have complete freedom in the choice of providers.

Opponents of Medicare for All frequently denounce it as socialized medicine. It is not. It is simply a government-run insurance program. All of the resources (federal, state, employer, individual) currently drawn upon to cover the nation’s health care costs are gathered so that a single agent pays all the bills.

Yes, it is a socialist idea, but one that has been shown by long experience with current Medicare to work well in a capitalist economy without sapping its vitality. Proponents do not advocate, as the socialist would, that the government seize the hospitals and manage the delivery of medical services. This would remain in private hands.

Some fear that government-guaranteed insurance would somehow deny us important freedoms. Quite the opposite is true. Having more security and less risk in our lives liberates us to achieve our full potential. We are happier, we are more productive and we probably live longer.

Others reject the proposition that access to health care should be universal, implying that some of us are unworthy. I can only express my own conviction that as a society, we have a responsibility to care for those among us who are simply unable to keep up in our highly competitive economy. Our government is the mechanism by which we discharge this responsibility, just as we take other actions to advance the public good.

Michael P. Bacon


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