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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Health care and good judgment


By Russ Bennett

America's per capital health care costs are the highest in the world. We spend 13.7 percent of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) on health care which ranks 37th in the world according to the World Health Organization (WHO). There are 36 countries with better health care systems than ours, including France, which spends 9.8 percent of its GDP on health care and has the top ranked health care system in the world.

Health insurance is not health care any more than automobile insurance is a car. It is a private financial industry that manages our money for its benefit. Thirty percent of the cost of health care in America is the cost of insurance and the associated profit and administration. The insurance industry treats health care the same way it treats auto body repair, only worse. The entire vehicle is covered in auto insurance -- we need separate insurance for dental (as if our mouths are not part of our bodies) eyeglasses, hearing aids, all kinds of syndromes and exemptions, pre-existing conditions, etc. -- denied, denied, denied.

We provide health insurance for our employees; these costs have risen 60 percent with diminished coverage in four years. To have these increases forced/mandated down our throats would be crippling. And wrong.

If we needed any more evidence about how private health insurance is working against our economic growth, consider why Toyota decided to locate its newest plant in Canada. Canada provides health care to its citizens and the cost is borne equitably by all. The ever-escalating cost of insurance in America makes it nearly impossible for businesses to control their costs.  

Health insurance is part of the problem with the health care system in America. Candidate Hillary Clinton wants to make it mandatory that all citizens are forced to buy insurance. Her proposal will guarantee the growth and profits of the financial industry of insurance but not improved care. The Clinton years can best be summed up by their policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" for gays in the military. All who choose to serve should be treated with the same respect and honor they deserve.

Candidate Barack Obama knows we need to address the health care problem in America and that we need to have discussions about universal health care and how it should be provided. Obama opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning. Clinton supported it. As August Ray put it, "... experience without good judgment is worthless; good judgment without experience is still good judgment!"

Bennett lives in Waitsfield.

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