With single-payer reform, schools all over Ohio could save millions

From AthensNews.com

To the Editor:

The Athens City Schools and many Ohio school districts are sorely in need of revenues. We see talented and dedicated teachers and teacher aides’ positions eliminated or threatened in Athens County. We read of the recommended closing a gem of a school and community, Chauncey Elementary.

There is a way that this school system and every school system in Ohio could save enough money to avoid such deep budget cuts. The new budgeting would take at least four years to fully institute, but would then save around $3 million every year for the Athens City Schools. The strategy: elect reform-minded legislators to the Ohio Assembly who would support single-payer health care in Ohio.

The present “sick care system” is dominated by for-profit insurance companies whose purpose is to keep the returns on investment high so that their shareholders and top executives can maximize their gains. The health of customers who directly or indirectly acquire insurance is secondary and too often unethical. Insurance companies have their place — but not in health care. The thousands of Ohio people currently employed in health-care billing deserve legislated transitional monetary supports. With a fair payroll and income tax, we can reap enormous savings for schools and government while improving the physical and financial health of families.

The purpose of single-payer health care is to keep people healthy. It is possible to have such a system without any co-pays, deductibles or health-related bankruptcies.

Over 100,000 people in Ohio have signed petitions for the enactment of single-payer health care, the Health Care For All Ohioans Act. Information is available at the Single-Payer Action Network web site, www.spanohio.org. An average of 14 people die every week in Ohio because they have no health-care coverage.

There is a way that every medical provider can be paid for every person receiving services. There is a way to create fairness, freedom from medical bankruptcy, and everyone in, nobody out. We can keep our private doctors, hospitals and medical providers, and create a “Medicare for all” type of system that will be sustainable.

Join the local advocates of Democracy Over Corporations and SPAN Ohio for a free screening of “The Health Care Movie,” a documentary film narrated by Keifer Sutherland, at United Campus Ministry, 18 N. College St., 7:30 pm on Wednesday, Jan. 11. This is a summary of the Canadian people’s struggles to obtain single-payer health care and the uphill challenges facing Americans today. This is a film about the reasons that ordinary and office-holding Canadians are grateful for their universal health-care system. It points to the role that corporate influence in politics has played in this country, keeping us locked into our present, entirely inadequate “system” and preventing movement toward real health-care reform.

Arlene Sheak, volunteer coordinator