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To the editor: We have just celebrated Martin Luther King's birthday. I think that he was among the greatest of all Americans. In 1966 he spoke about injustice in health care and called it the most shocking and inhuman of all inequalities. There is much evidence that the care of the poor is inferior to the care of the wealthy and that the care of people of color is inferior to the care of whites. The injustices are still there and are getting worse. Should not health care be available and affordable for all?

Health care is unaffordable for many. Out of pocket costs and medical debt are skyrocketing. Primary care physicians are in short supply, and it is difficult to find one. Doctors are burning out. Emergency rooms are overwhelmed. Giant corporations (United Health Care, Aetna, et al) make billions of dollars of profit from our illnesses. Our tax dollars subsidize these corporations. Hospitals are consolidating or closing. Drug companies are ripping us off. We spend twice as much on health care as other countries and our results are not as good. We are paying more for health insurance and getting less for our money than we were a few years ago. Many doctors, hospitals, and politicians go merrily on their way as if nothing is wrong. It doesn't need to be this way.

It is obvious that our system needs an overhaul. It is really quite simple. Negotiate with the drug companies. Build up primary care. Stop all attempts to privatize Medicare. Throw out the profit-oriented corporations and replace them with a single payer with far less administrative overhead. It's called "Improved Medicare-for-All." Simplified (and therefore better) health care for less.

G. Richard Dundas, MD

Bennington, Jan. 18