Letters from the voters – Letter to the editor: Medicare for all simplifies health care

In his June 22 articles (“When college athletes get hurt, whose wallets should feel the pain?” and “USM ‘doing responsible things’ for athletes”“), Mark Emmert explores the questions “Who pays?” and “Is it fair?” for injured University of Maine athletes. He interviews UMaine officials, caregivers, injured athletes and outside experts.

Any uninsured student entering UMaine must pay $3,000 for health care coverage, in addition to tuition. For serious injuries, like those Emmert describes, the athlete pays $10,000 for deductibles that generate seemingly endless mountains of bills.

UMaine buys insurance that kicks in after the deductible, paying $124,000 for it. UMaine pays $340,000 to provide injured athletes “free rehabilitation services.” Is UMaine doing enough for its athletes? Is it fair to other UMaine students to add a share of the $464,000 to their tuition?

We could establish a less complex, fairer and cheaper option than the one Emmert describes at UMaine. Health policy experts, economists, physicians and Congress people urge us to provide everyone with “improved Medicare for all.” Medicare for All is simple – from your first breath to your last one, you have access to private care, with choice of physician, hospital and rehabilitation facility.

Everyone pays when working (not when sick!), and everyone has the same comprehensive benefit package. It’s cheaper, and experts say more than $350 billion would be saved by changing from a profit-oriented system to a patient care-oriented one. The savings more than offset the $110 billion experts estimate would be required for health care for the currently uninsured.

Do you know that more than $30 million went to Aetna’s CEO in 2013? Why not offer what every other developed country does, and provide taxpaying citizens, UMaine athletes and other students a simpler, equitable and less costly health care option?

Explore “simpler, fairer, cheaper” options at http://maineallcare.org.

William D. Clark, M.D.
managing editor, DocCom
Published in the July 6, 2014 Portland Press Herald