Letter, Opinion

Take back health care

Dear Editor,

Forget “government takeovers” of health care. It was taken over long ago by insurance companies and other commercial interests. Now it’s just a money pit.

Insurance premiums are tied to how much insurers have to pay out to doctors and hospitals. The fees doctors and hospitals charge include money to compensate for the enormous amounts of time they spend on paperwork and administration — 18.5 hours a week per internal medicine doctor per a recent survey — much of it spent dealing with the insurance companies.

Once bills are submitted to insurance companies, the insurer spends time evaluating, processing and rejecting or approving claims. This also gets built into the insurance company premium.

Employer contributions to premiums get factored into the cost of the products and services they sell. Amounts individuals pay reduce the money available to buy goods and services.

If the individual or employer is a government unit, premiums are paid from taxes that everybody pays. This tax gets factored into household budgets, further reducing the money available to pay for goods and services.

Then there is the incredible amount of unpaid time dealing with the medical bills for amounts not covered by the insurance, figuring out whether to keep or change your health insurer, keep or change the type of policy you have and its deductible and co-pay terms.

Then there are price gouging drug companies, private equity firms buying up medical practices, huge medical debts….

Take health care back. Commercial interests are strangling it.

Lee Russ, Bennington

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