To the editor:
I am writing in reference to Michael Kelly’s response (Public Forum, Jan. 11) to Ms. Henderson’s letter (Jan. 4) celebrating her recently obtained affordable health care. Mr. Kelly takes issue with the Affordable Care Act and those that qualify for low premiums. He believes those who pay little or nothing for health care are a “charity” and lists all of the costs of providing care for these “charity” cases.
As Mr. Kelly considers himself a critical thinker, I assume he has considered the cost and impact on a nation when millions of citizens have no health insurance. What is the cost of low productivity or lost employment due to illness? Are sick children able to perform well in school? What is the cost to families that are stressed due to concerns over inadequate health care? How do stressed individuals participate in their community? What is the cost of providing crisis health care, versus preventative health care? What is the ethical and moral cost to a nation that does not value the health of its citizens? There are many costs to not providing health care, including human suffering.
U.S. health care costs are higher than any other industrialized country and this cost is not reflected in the overall health of its citizens. I’m glad to know that Mr. Kelly has been fortunate enough to have health care. Affordable health care is not about charity but about allowing our fellow citizens to prosper. The classic Christmas tale of Mr. Scrooge apparently lives on in the 21st century.