Mailbag: We can do better on health care

Mailbag: We can do better on health care

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How many people in Albany are facing medical bankruptcy? How many live without health insurance? How many need to see a dentist or doctor but cannot afford to? In our state, the answer to all these questions is thousands.

It doesn't have to be this way. In most cases it's not the fault of the person in question. Nor is it the fault of providers. The doctors, dentists and other medical professionals I know work hard and deserve their pay. We need a better system. 

In 1996 my wife and I and four of her siblings toured Russia. In Orenburg a family member fell and hit her face on the curb. She was taken to a nearby hospital. With only minimal paperwork, she soon was treated. My wife, an RN, was impressed with the service and facilities.

We asked when we left where we could pay. The answer: "There is no charge." At that time in Russia, tourists were treated in emergency rooms without fees.

Another time we were in Canada and my wife needed eye treatment. She was treated promptly with minimal payment.

Our family and friends in Canada like their government-funded health plan. They do not envy us. 

The Oregon Legislature is studying the possibility of another health care system for our state. Other private groups, chiefly Health Care for All-Oregon, are too. 

We advocate universal, publicly funded and privately delivered health care for all Oregonians. It pencils out, too. And no, it's not socialized medicine. Please go to HCAO.org to find out more.

Ray Kauffman

Albany

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