LRO Arizona Leader Don Jensen Writes Editor About Broken Health Care Promises
Arizona Daily Star:
Having served 6 years in the US Army Reserve during my youth, I am not eligible for veteran’s health insurance. I wish I were. However, I still read with interest your headline article on the veteran’s health insurance crisis in Saturday’s edition. While their premium increases represent broken promises by the federal government that should not be allowed to take place, their problem is simply another symptom of a broken health care system, a system in indisputable crisis. As a comparison to the vets, I retired after 30 years in the private sector, having worked for a single company that entire time. I was promised affordable health care insurance for me and my wife by my former employer, Lucent Technologies. That promise was broken as well. We have seen our annual costs for medical insurance go from $50/month to almost $700/month in just the past few years as this employer totally took away the health care subsidy promised for spouses. The result is over $8000 per year that we had never calculated in our financial plan for retirement. The United States is the only industrialized nation without a national health insurance plan. As a result, costs are dramatically increasing every year, and more than 45 million of our citizens find themselves uninsured. The system of linking the “right” to health insurance to a person’s employment (or past employment) is an archaic and obsolete system no longer embraced by the rest of the civilized world. Our current system is not only making insurance unaffordable, but also is significantly affecting our ability to compete in world markets. (E.g. $1500 of every car built by GM goes for health insurance). Many of us who have been harmed by this crisis have again and again written to congressional representatives seeking assistance and leadership with little or no positive response. It is time for our government to face this crisis and find a remedy. And it is time for you in the press to express the same outrage you afforded the veterans, and give comparable coverage to a system that is in total breakdown.