All of the health care problems outlined by E.A. Beem (Nov. 6) can and do happen to all of us. There is one clear way to avoid most of them: remove for-profit insurance companies from the system. They serve no medical purpose whatsoever. They exist to take in profits. This is a conflict of interest, as the more care they deny, the better their profits.

We don’t need doctors’ orders being intercepted by insurance companies, or the colossal waste of time required to wade through the red tape set up by them. And we surely don’t need to waste our precious dollars lining the pockets of already fabulously wealthy insurance company executives.

What we do need is to join the rest of the civilized world and recognize health care as a human right that is guaranteed by government to every man, woman and child in the country, regardless of income. There are many possible ways to do this, as evidenced by other countries’ approaches. They all are fairer, spend less money and have better health outcomes than we do.

Our current “system” is barbaric and beyond shameful – especially for one of the richest countries on earth.

Nancy O’Hagan  
Portland