LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We should have best health care

Nov 22, 2011


I am a retiree and a Medicare recipient who is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan. In the first three years of my enrollment, my monthly premiums have doubled. In the fourth year, my premium doubled again — a total increase of 400 percent in four years!

I am now enrolled in a very similar plan from a West Michigan provider.

For 2012, due to new cost-saving guidelines required by the Health Care Act, my total yearly premiums will see its first drop — modest, but a step toward cost containment.

Additionally, I can now take advantage of a wellness-based initiative that provides an annual free physical, cancer screening procedures and glaucoma testing.

Because of required efficiency guidelines mandated by the Health Care Act, there was a sufficient savings realized to make it possible for my Medicare Advantage provider to offer a dental care package to me at no additional cost. This adds up to an enhanced care package for less money, which I am certain would not have occurred without the legislative effort. These are small steps forward, but are meaningful.

Opponents of the plan are not seeming to offer any real alternatives for improvement. The federal government has not been very effective at informing people about the changes and how they will benefit from them.

Our problem is not that we don’t have skilled medical personnel or great facilities, it is the failure of the system to contain costs and to provide universal coverage.

As Americans, we should insist on enjoying the best health care possible, not a system that costs twice as much as other industrialized nations and still leaves 52 million people without coverage. We need to be able to take great American pride in a health care system and the highest possible longevity. When people can’t afford health care and lack access, the health outcomes are not going to be positive.

I think we must work to institute a simple, easy-to-understand single-payer system that addresses the coverage and cost containment issues. We must be competitive with our world neighbors. Our future depends on it.

— Louis Paxton, Spring Lake


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