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On health care
Dwight Michael

I thank my Gettysburg College liberal arts education for my devout belief that we should seek the truth (do our homework) before forming our opinion on any issue.  

As a family physician practicing in Gettysburg over the last 26 years, I have become increasingly disgusted with the inequity and inefficiencies of provision and administration of health care in our country. Seventy-six industrialized nations in our world have universal health care. They believe that health care is a human right. They value their fellow man.  

Despite the fact that we spend nearly twice as much per person in the U.S. for health care (2009: $8,086 per person, 17.6 percent of GDP), 45,000 Americans die each year due to lack of health insurance, 50 million Americans are uninsured, nearly 1 million Americans go medically bankrupt each year, and our quality of care indicators such as life expectancy and preventable deaths are undeniably mediocre when compared to peer nations. 

In 2014 the Affordable Care Act will rein in some of the sins of our “profit-first” health insurance industry. However, by 2019, 23 million Americans will remain uninsured and 32 million additional Americans will be underinsured.  These individuals will still have great difficulty affording necessary health care.

Improved Medicare for All would save our system an estimated $400 billion a year in reduced administrative costs (Medicare’s 3 percent versus private health insurance’s 20 percent). 

Nationally, House Bill 676 currently provides the structure for this form of health care reform.  This bill would provide affordable, accessible, high quality health care for all Americans.

We as a nation of caring people can and must do better!  

A bio major at Gettysburg, Dr. Michael earned his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He joined Gettysburg Family Practice in 1985, is board certified in family medicine, and is an active member of the American Academy of Family Practice.  

Email your thoughts on this topic and suggestions for future “Voice of Experience” topics to alumnimagazine@gettysburg.edu

Posted: Sun, 2 Sep 2012

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