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Letter: Many doctors support universal health care

Many doctors support universal health care

I would like to respectfully dispute the Feb. 8 op-ed by Robert Samuelson. First, and not known to many, the New York State Academy of Family Practice has fully endorsed and backed a bill passed in the Assembly by Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, mandating universal health care. A large percentage of physicians are tired of the current mosaic of insurers. This hodgepodge of plans has brought medical practice to the brink of collapse.

The U.S. health care system is ranked 37th in the world for good reason. We pay more than twice what any other country pays, and for outcomes that are many times worse than these “cheaper” countries, for example, infant death mortality. Europeans live on average three years longer than Americans. The No. 1 cause of bankruptcy here is loss or lack of health care. Lose your job, lose your health care, lose your house; simple to understand. No one in Europe loses his home if he does not have health care.

Recent estimates calculate that Americans need $230,000 in savings just for health care in retirement. There is no projected decline in premiums or deductibles in the foreseeable future.

Why do 1.5 million Americans seek treatment outside of the United States yearly (a practice called medical tourism)?

Lastly, why does the cost of some drugs increase 5,000 percent in one year? Why do we suddenly have vaccine and chemotherapy drug shortages? Why do we still pay pharmacists to count out pills, when they come prepackaged in Europe? I would assume pharmacists can better spend their time counseling patients on how/when to take their medication, drug interactions and foods to avoid.

So tell me, how good is our current system or why is universal health care so bad?

Joseph S. Testa, M.D.

Tonawanda