Letter: Health care and the election

To the Editor:

Everybody gets sick — no matter their age or income level. We all need health care -—when we’re sick and when we’re trying to stay healthy. But not everyone has access to the health care they need.  We are all familiar with why. Some can’t afford the insurance premiums, some because their employer doesn’t offer health benefits, some because their treatment costs too much, some because their health problems are disqualified from treatment. And, this inequity has a consequence: the United States has the highest per capita health care costs of any other developed nation and its citizens as a group are among the least healthy.

There are many explanations for this. But among the most influential is the belief – championed by many in the Republican Party – that government should have no role in health care. Leave it, they say, to the private sector, where there is a choice of health care options and where the profit incentive drives innovation and the best possible health care.  If we applied this logic to, say, highway construction and maintenance, some roads serving wealthy neighborhoods and commercial property would be well maintained and accessible in all weather condition, while others not.

The question is not whether government should play a role in the delivery of health care but what role that should be.  The answer is complicated. But we are fortunate to have several local candidates representing the Democratic Party – whom I’ve gotten to know – with backgrounds that give them valuable perspective on the issues and potential solutions. Monica Tujak Brill, running for state Senate, is a certified public accountant and understands how the State can help manage health care and insurance costs.  Elaine Matto, running for the House, has spent 25 years as a health care practitioner and advocate and understands the inefficiencies and inequities of how health care is delivered. Jose Goncalves, also running for the House, understands what working families must face in managing their health care.

We all need affordable, quality health care.  Monica, Elaine, and Jose will help us get there.

John Harmon