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Regarding Wednesday’s letter to the editor, “Don’t make health insurance a government monopoly,” calling government health insurance a monopoly is nonsense. It’s gobbledygook.
Sole operation of a service is not enough to mischaracterize it as a monopoly, particularly in the area of public policy, where privatization does not always work out for the best.
Monopolies are about profit. They are the result of extreme free-market capitalism which, absent competition, allow sellers to set unreasonable prices for products and services, for profit.
Medicare operates without profit. It does not make a profit on premiums or reimbursements, and government workers are not on the receiving end of graft.
A survey of the program has found that seniors are happy with Medicare. Older seniors are happiest of all, with nine out of 10 saying they are satisfied or very satisfied with Medicare.
The conservative dog whistle of bad government is also without merit.
Federal, state and local governments play an important role in industry. They provide the regulatory framework that spurs dependable long-term private investment.
Good government gave us a secure Treasury and currency, reliable banking and investment policies — making ATMs possible — regulatory policies for clean air, water, food and drug manufacture. It spurred the development of the interstate highway program which provides economic mobility (long lines at the DMV notwithstanding), the Apollo space program and the Human Genome Program, the last two of which are responsible for advances in medicine and technology.
All these depend on good government which, in turn, depends on good elected officials. Granted, we’ve hit a gargantuan speed bump with Trump and the Republican Party whose ideas about government are stripping it, disincentivizing it and reckless treatment of longstanding government employees, which is why elections every two years are important. And that’s why voting is essential.
The myth that private companies outperform government in all areas of public policy is just that, a myth. Privatization does not always work out for the best and hasn’t for everyone for health insurance.
Deborah A. Baro