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Letter: Health care industry is not a ‘tapeworm’

In the Jan. 31 issue of The News, an inflammatory article appeared regarding the economics of health care. The terms “suffocating” and “tapeworm” insult the industry that, with the combined effort of government and private sector, has produced the longest life span and its quality in history.

While health care encumbers 18 percent of GDP, it generates 18 percent in terms of wages paid, purchase of drugs, equipment and supplies. These expenditures do not reduce resources for other sectors such as defense, education, etc.

While austerity balances the books for a family with a fixed income, that does not apply to the federal government, which can print money and immediately put it to work, as occurred in World War II. At that time, 40 percent of GDP was expended for “the war effort,” funded by the Treasury printing press.

I foresee the day when we encumber 25 or 30 percent of GDP. The one industry with the highest labor intensity, not easily mechanized, which the public perceives as being worthwhile. Millions of paycheck-to-paycheck workers will have improved quality of life, increasing their use of the goods and services sold by Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon. The pharmaceutical and equipment suppliers are the two areas generating all-time high profits, posing two areas for possible reduction. Other developed nations encumber less, mostly in lower prices, easily accomplished where there is government regulation, e.g. Medicare.

May I suggest that rather than using pejorative parasitic analogies for health care, we find one more complimentary.

Ross Markello


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