I am writing in reply to the question Rosemary S. Prostko posed in her Aug. 11 letter about a recent town hall meeting on health-care reform ("Health-Care Discussion Incivility Must End"). She said, "Please tell me why the richest country has people dying because of no or poor care."
The answer is that people are not dying because of lack of health care. It is illegal for a hospital to deny care to any patient, and therefore to imply that some Americans cannot get health care when they need it is extremely misleading. There is Medicare for seniors, CHIP for children and Medicaid for the poor. Even prisoners in jail get health care.
It is true that a minority of Americans do not have health-insurance coverage, but that does not mean they do not receive care. The question that should really be asked is "What can we do to reduce the cost of health care to make it more affordable?"
The answer is for health insurance to emulate the car insurance model where insurance would cover only hospital stays and expensive tests and procedures. Consumers would pay for routine doctor visits and medications out-of-pocket. This plan would significantly reduce the cost of health insurance, making it as affordable as car insurance, and put a downward pressure on health costs by forcing consumers to shop around and health-care providers to become more efficient.
Maybe we need to ask the right question to get the right answer.