Sadly, there are many that believe the government should not be involved in health care. I hope they read the article in the Feb. 24 Kennebec Journal, “Watching health costs.”

In that article, a couple from Gardiner said they paid $658 for a medical procedure in one medical center and paid $2,319 for the same procedure 14 months later at another hospital. Given that there was virtually no cost-of-living increase in that period and that a standard 17 percent charge for administration cost differences could be factored in, a 20 percent difference might be expected from one facility to the next, in the same state.

Instead, the couple found a 350 percent difference. This goes to show that the medical-industrial complex is out to gouge people for every dollar (or thousands, rather) that they can get. In spite of groups like Maine Quality Counts championing for public scrutiny and comparison-shopping, the current system is filled with inequity.

Many people arrive at a point of medical need when they are desperately ill and are not able to focus on cost analysis. They only want to, and only need to, get better. They are at a vulnerable point in their life and entering an extremely unlevel playing field. As in so many cases, it is a legitimate function of our government to level that playing field where the poor and weak can be taken advantage of by the rich and powerful.

So many have criticized the Affordable Care Act for going too far in providing affordable health care for all. I criticize it for not going far enough. Until the greedy medical-industrial complex is reined in, our health care crisis will only get worse. It will just be a matter of time before we all get burned.

Peter P. Sirois, Madison

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