Letters from Voters: Another View: Single-payer coverage right fix for flawed Obamacare program

Portland Press Herald – February 4, 2017

Jason Savage, executive director of the Maine Republican Party, is absolutely right about many of the significant flaws found in the Affordable Care Act; some of which he pointed out in his recent piece (“Obamacare editorial ignored the ‘repeal and replace’ scenario” Jan. 27). We all know the law was flawed. One of its greatest faults is that too many people were left out. It is hard to imagine our Congress would even consider passing a law that excludes people unable to afford the cost of the plans on their own and too poor to qualify for subsidies, but that’s exactly what our representatives and senators did. Congress threw us crumbs and suggested we should be grateful.

Savage’s own article is flawed as well. First, he suggests that the Telegram editorial uses hyperbole in making its case, and then suggests that the newspaper and, by extension, we readers, misunderstand and are ignorant of the facts surrounding the ACA. Not so! We are informed and we recognize, better than our elected officials seem to, that Americans want and know they deserve access to high quality, affordable health care.

We believe that health care is a human right. We believe that the core principles of equity, accountability, transparency, universality, and participation must guide how we create access to health care for all. We are long past believing that having either a health insurance policy or a for-profit health insurance industry will work to our benefit. Our collective experiences with insurance have taught us better. We’ve already waited too long for Congress, as Savage suggests, to “try to sort through the issue and see what their solutions look like” because, he says, “There’s no doubt that members of Congress want to see health insurance work for Americans.” Access to health insurance just means more crumbs. And crumbs are not enough. Americans are hungry for universal health care they can count on in moments when they are strong and in good health as well as those moments when they are vulnerable.

Universal health care is both possible and necessary. Now is the time to be bold and innovative. Let’s use our formidable will to create access to health care for all. Now is not the time to rehash ways to make health insurance work. It doesn’t. It didn’t. It won’t. Let’s stop groveling for crumbs and demand enough for all.

By Roger and Peggy Merchand