In his April 26 response to my April 20 letter about the need for universal access to health care, Norman Perazzo commented that my comments were hyperbolic (poetic or rhetorical overstatement). He may be correct.
However, many workers are unnecessarily tied to their jobs because they would lose medical benefits if they quit. Many government employees enjoy employer- (taxpayer) funded health benefits while employed, and, if they work enough years, throughout their retirement. All workers should enjoy these health benefits, which could be paid for via a payroll tax (as Social Security is) and income taxes.
Always having access to health care regardless of employment status would liberate workers. Family members would no longer lose health benefits when a loved one dies, is laid off, quits, gets fired or if the business fails.
It’s cruel that many millions of workers in this wealthy nation go without needed health care because they can’t afford it, and federal and state governments don’t provide a solution. Other nations have solved this problem, but not the United States or New York state elected officials.
Not only would an expanded and improved Medicare for all allow workers to more easily change employers, retire, semi-retire, or pursue self-employment, but it would be a vastly easier system to understand and navigate. Trying to choose between insurance plans every year or few years with all their schedules, exclusions, co-payments, doctor’s networks, deductibles, and fine print would be eliminated.
Suddenly losing promised company retirement health benefits at age 75 or 85 or older and scurrying to devise some affordable and adequate replacement would not occur. When arriving at a doctor or hospital, we would show our government-issued health card and then focus on our health instead of worrying about how much services will cost and if we can afford them.
Because most of the enormous costs of administering the private health insurance system would be eliminated, most workers, employers, and governments would save money with a high-quality Medicare-for-all program. The government would pay the bills while the private sector would continue to provide most of the services.