Letter to the Editor: Chuck Savall’s comment about undocumented immigrants is unfair, demonizing

Rosemary Johnston

While I agree with Chuck Savall that our health care costs are too high, I think it is ill advised to blame those costs on our undocumented brothers and sisters and the Affordable Care Act.

I rejoice every day when I learn that more and more residents of our country will have access to health care. Health care is a right, not a commodity. I believe increased access to affordable health care, irregardless of our income, employment status, citizenship status, or pregnancy status is something we should brag about as a country considering we have the most expensive heatlh care in the world but not the best. 

In the US, we spend twice as much on health care as a percentage of the GDP — 16.9%. And we have the lowest life expectancy and highest suicide rate among the 11 highest income countries in the world — Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. We also have double the chronic disease burden and obesity rate as these other countries and among the highest numbers of hospitalizations from preventable causes and the highest rate of avoidable deaths. 

Currently 82 million Americans are on Medicaid because it is the only way they have access to health care, and that includes 25% of Colorado residents. Any medical professional would agree that preventive care and early intervention is far preferable to serious complications and preventable deaths. To suggest they are unwilling to work or for those that have made life choices where they can never be productive members of society is demeaning and demonizing.

Their plight calls for compassion, not contempt. Until we have a national heatlh care plan like every other first-world country, we will continue to pay more with unacceptable results. 

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