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Health care: Nothing is free

Price has not detailed how he would preserve coverage for the more than 100 million Americans who rely on Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare.

With universal health care a current topic of discussion, we see many ideas proposed by The Sun's readers. Letter writer Alice Cherbonnier proposes ("A health care plan for all," March 29) enrolling all Americans in the same health care options offered to employees of the federal government. As a federal retiree enrolled in one of the federal plans, I think that many would want to think twice before pursuing that option if it were made available. It is not as good as most people perceive.

In the last two years (coincident with the implementation of Obamacare), my federal insurance premiums have gone up 100 percent, doubling my employee cost for coverage. We seem to have a prevailing belief in America that we should get universal health care and that it should be inexpensive. That simply cannot be done. My son and his family moved to Germany three years ago. Germany does have universal health care, which is great. Germany also has an average 50 percent tax burden for all residents, far more than our U.S. tax rates.

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I'm sure that my significant rate increases are the result of the Obamacare plan which offers a large number of subsidies (which my rate increase helps to pay for) to lower income families, and even with those subsidies the prices to all users are projected to rise to the point that by 2020 most Americans will not be able to afford to use the plan. You don't get something for nothing — there is no magic solution to achieving affordable universal health care. You either raise taxes and insurance premiums to the point where we have a socialist economy (which seems to be the goal of many these days), or you accept the fact that those who can afford less receive less. That is not a non-empathetic statement. We have finite limits to what the government can do while addressing and trying to reduce our multi-trillion dollar deficit while not harming programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Reasonable solutions can be made to expand health coverage, but as a country we can never achieve universal, all-encompassing and uniformly equal low cost health care. Not because we don't want it but because we can't afford it.

Jerry Cothran, Baltimore

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