September 4, 2013

Letter: Laughable

— On Monday, Aug. 5, Kyle Wingfield had a column on the Viewpoints page titled “Details on the proposed health premium increases in Georgia.” From reading his column, I believe the state insurance commissioner has either been pumping him some sunshine about the rates or the insurance companies have lowered premiums due to the new health care laws.

Twelve years ago, at the age of 62, my late husband had to quit working because of poor health. As a hairstylist, I had no insurance, so my husband carried me on his company plan and kept COBRA at a cost of $430 per month. After COBRA expired, I had to get on my own private individual insurance plan at a cost of $330 per month. In a matter of only a few months my insurance payment rose to $550 per month and that was 12 years ago. Two former coworkers told me they had canceled their insurance because it rose to over $700 and $800 per month. The premiums Mr. Wingfield quoted were laughable. If those quotes are correct, premiums are already decreasing like reported in California and New York. If insurance had been affordable, we would not have the Affordable Care Act.

A lady from The Washington Post and Dr. Nancy Snyderman were talking on television about the high cost of health care in this country. Dr. Snyderman stated that a lot of people are going to Belgium for surgery because it is less expensive. As an example, the average cost for knee replacement surgery in the United States is $46,000, but in Belgium it is $4,000. She also said that Belgium has good health care with fewer infections than in the United States. Another comment Dr. Snyderman made was that people think Belgium has socialized medicine when, in fact, their government controls their costs much like our government controls our power plants. Is this something we need to consider?

Let’s start by demanding better wages for our workers. Some people work two jobs with no benefits. Although I am not in the medical field, I have family members who are, and I know that 48.6 million are without health insurance. When they go to the emergency rooms or health departments, guess who has to pay if they cannot.

Wilma Gibson