Medical reform under Truman was sabotaged by the American Medical Assn. But the AMA then was a voluntary organization made up mainly of doctors determined to protect their incomes from government restrictions. My authority for this statement was Dave Rogers with whom I shared a summer cooperative camp and who was variously dean of two medical schools, head of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a university professor (the highest titled rank held ordinarily by one outstanding faulty member), and our AIDS ‘Tzar’ until his death.

Since that time greedy doctors have been joined by comparably greedy drug and profit-making medical insurance programs. We pay far more than we should for our medicines — including their advertising expenses daily and large sized bureaucracies which make up 30-40% of the costs of standard medical insurance programs — profit-making or other.

Millions of dollars are now being expended to pull the Harry and Louise trick or treat game once again — scare the public out of demanding what is in its best interests — a public option which would offer an alternative to the current profit makers, strict rules forbidding excuses for not paying for such as the disclosure of pre-existing conditions (e.g. some heart damage), loss of coverage along with one’s employment, dodging and weaving when medical expenses are presented for payment, under coverage which one discovers only too late to avoid massive expenses.

As a beneficiary now of Medicare backed up by GHI for the remaining expenses which was arranged from City University of New York retirees, I can speak of the relief we felt in the face of increased medical expenses as we aged.

Anyone in his right mind and well informed would opt for universal single payer medicine paid out of our taxes which should be raised fairly to cover same. If we can lay out a trillion dollars this year for military expenses, we can do the same for medicine for which we are in effect being taxed by the private profit makers — this wealthiest of all our economic money-making operations!

Let us hope that sanity wins out this time. We are nearly a century behind our competitor nations who devised their own plans after WW2 — now  doing better and costing half as much as ours

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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