Drs. Larry Kaplan and Bill Clark make the argument that Maine should implement universal health care (“Letter to the editor: Give Mainers chance to vote on equitable health care system,” June 6). They state that the system should be “equitably funded” and should leave no one out.

The term “equitably funded” is further specified on the website mainehealthcareaction.org, where we read: “Everyone receives the same benefits. Everyone pays according to their ability.” Apparently, then, the belief in “From each according to his ability,” a well-known Marxist phrase, is still current, in spite of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The idea of leaving no one out is also problematic. Suppose a person smokes for years, comes down with emphysema as a consequence and so requires expensive health care. Providing people who harm their own bodies with free health care is tantamount to a subsidy of poor habits, and so we should expect to see such habits increase under such a system. (Along similar lines, if our car insurance was free and covered every mechanical problem, people would not treat their cars with respect.)

A system that prioritized service to those who were harmed by others or the environment (rather than all), and that charged those who abused their own bodies (rather than those making decent salaries), would result in better health, at a lower price, then the system suggested by Drs. Kaplan and Clark.

William Vaughan Jr.
Chebeague Island

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