To the Editor:
Politicians love the photo op with veterans. We celebrate the wounded warrior, but seldom praise the system that cares for him/her — the Veterans Home Administration.
The VHA cares for over 9 million veterans at 1,243 health care facilities, including 170 VA Medical Centers and 1,063 out-patient sites.
The VA may have its flaws, but its center in Oteen [East Asheville] is considered one of the best in the country. Vets come to Asheville from all over the Southeast for treatment.
Many people don’t realize the VA is essentially “socialized” medicine, whereby the government provides and pays for health care, including negotiated price controls on drugs. Congressional leaders who claim that socialized medicine is not viable in the U.S. are being disingenuous.
Congressman Mark Meadows, R-Asheville, does not support a “single payer” health care system, which is not socialized medicine. Some would also call this “Medicare for All,” where health care is publicly funded but privately delivered. Patients retain control over which physicians to use.
One recalls the American Medical Association vehemently opposed Medicare in 1965, when it was introduced by President Lyndon Johnson and ratified by Congress. Things change. There was a paradigm shift, and Medicare is now embraced by most Americans.
Even business leaders are now saying the current health care system is unsustainable and harmful to the bottom line — 17 percent of payroll is now consumed by health care dollars, and 62 percent of American household bankruptcies are due to medical expenses.
I would encourage Rep. Meadows to leave his comfort zone and listen to his constituents. Our nation is undergoing another paradigm shift — 60 percent of Americans now favor Medicare for all. Can North Carolina be that far behind the national trend on health care?
A real leader would be open to broadening the discussion on health care; perhaps even attend a forum on “Healthcare for All: Good for Busine$$,” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at AB-Tech Ferguson Auditorium in Asheville. The keynote speaker is David Steil, former Republican Pennsylvania legislator and mid-size business owner who supports health care for all and a single payer system. Mr. Steil will describe his personal journey to embracing single payer.
Perhaps our Congressman could learn something from Mr. Steil. Perhaps we could make America great again by providing health care for all our people, and no longer be the only industrialized democracy notto guarantee health care to its citizens. Imagine that and vote accordingly this November.