LETTER: Health care: Let’s look at the reality

Oct. 01, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

I have enormous respect for the Rev. Bruce MacInnes, but he has gone way off the track with his letter published in this paper on Sept. 28.

To take it out of the realm of high-flown rhetoric and into the grim reality of here and now, there are 6,000 people in Lee County who have no access to affordable health care. They are our homeless and poverty-level neighbors, who don’t have a choice in the matter. Their choice is not whether to buy health insurance or earn a college degree; it is whether to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads or buy health insurance.

Sanford’s priceless, irreplaceable treasure, the Helping Hand Clinic, Lee County’s only free medical facility, has the capacity to meet the needs of about 20 percent of these people. The rest go without. Many wait until they have a health emergency and seek medical care through a hospital emergency room, the most expensive option. When they do that, it is you and I who pay the bills in increased insurance rates.

The Rev. MacInnes and even Sen. Ted Cruz would agree that the laws that insist that citizens have valid drivers’ licenses and current vehicle insurance are necessary. The people who choose not to have health insurance are as irresponsible as the person who drives a car without automobile insurance. No one knows when illness or injury will strike.

The willfully uninsured are playing dice with their lives and our health care dollars. Rev. MacInnes seems to think that kind of gambling is a constitutional right.

Readers who care about having the facts are referred to recent General Accounting Office analyses of the cost of the Affordable Care Act and to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman’s recent column, “The real Obamacare shock: It’s working,” published in The News & Observer on May 30.

Irene Smith