Explore options and create a better health care system
I appreciate the recent letters to the editor in which the writers thoughtfully explored whether health care should be considered a right or a commodity. I propose that health care is most accurately considered a public good, like education, infrastructure and a national defense. A well-functioning health care system fosters a healthy population that increases a nation’s economic productivity and social potential.
It is clear that our system is not serving our public good. Nearly 30 million Americans still don’t have health insurance and even more can’t afford to use the health insurance they do have because of high copays and deductibles. Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
Unfortunately, many politicians and pundits have polarized any discussion about health care and limited dialogue about possible options, like expanding Medicare to cover everyone. Health care is actually a unifying, intimately shared experience common to all of us, even with existing disparities in care and outcomes. This can be a point of connection, not division, as we move forward in exploring all options to create a system that works better for all of us.
It is clear that this answer won’t come from Washington, D.C. We must start by talking to each other about what we want in our health care system to envision how it can better serve us, our families and communities.
Caroline J. Rath, MPH