I enjoyed John Balentine’s recent column (“2020 is a year for anniversaries,” March 13), until he wrote “I wonder what 2020 will be remembered for, COVID-19 or the year America chose a socialist as its dear leader.”

Is there a connection between COVID-19 and a socialist president?  An old adage states, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  The “ounce” is universal health care, allowing millions of Americans access to “preventative” programs, e.g., COVID-19 and flu testing, obesity/drug/alcohol counseling and other interventions designed to prevent more devastating outcomes. The “pound,” reducing the overall cost of health care by treating patients much earlier.  By accessing preventative regimes sooner, individuals with diabetes, heart disease, renal insufficiency, cancer and other ailments can be managed at lower cost, rather than presenting at hospitals and clinics with end-stage illnesses, often without insurance.

When Mr. Balentine wonders if “America (elects) a socialist as its dear leader,” I should not worry. Mr. Biden or Mr. Sanders will support a new form of universal health care with preventative maintenance options, while still allowing banks, insurance companies and industry to operate without government takeover.  Said entities will continue to generate huge profits, albeit with government oversight to ensure fairness in the marketplace.

Mr. Balentine equates “socialist” with the dear leader of North Korea. It is true, there are no profit-making entities in North Korea, but Mr. Biden or Mr. Sanders will allow universal health care to co-exist with profit-making businesses (public/private, large/small) and banks. It is correct that “history will be the judge,” but programs for all can and should co-exist with capitalism. So, in the future, we will refer to this co-existence as “social capitalism.”

Is that not a more honest term, Mr. Balentine?

John M. Mishler

Harpswell