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Treat health care as a basic right

Health care reform is not about being conservative or liberal. It is about providing a basic necessity for every American in the richest country in the world. Under the current system, we must accept the health plan chosen by our employer and pay an increasing portion of the cost. If we lose a job, we also lose our health insurance.

After 28 years with the same company, I lost my job due to restructuring. Because of high unemployment and age discrimination, I was forced into early retirement. Until I was eligible for Medicare, I paid $7,000 per year plus co-pays for health insurance. Individual coverage now averages $9,000 per year in New York.

Today, many unemployed workers are being forced to go without health insurance through no fault of their own. The real truth is private insurers do not provide adequate or affordable health care for many deserving Americans.

The health care industry and its supporters have spread a lot of misinformation to avoid competition and maintain huge profits. Private insurers deny and limit care and it is too expensive because of non-health care costs such as lobbying. Members of Congress also profit because they receive large campaign contributions, influencing them to vote against our interests. Their health care is taxpayer subsidized, but they want to deny affordable coverage to average Americans.

It would certainly be reassuring to know a public health care option was available if needed. Some day you may find yourself, a friend or a family member without medical coverage.

Wouldn’t you want the option of joining a nonprofit, low-cost public health care plan? I know I would.

Linda Imhauser

Whitestone

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