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Letter: The reality of capitalism

Numerous letters on this page have declared that there is no need for government to be involved in health care. They have indicated that private insurance companies are a better choice, and in a capitalistic society, the only choice for providing adequate, low-cost healthcare coverage. Yet, despite the existence of private insurance companies and the "limited" role of government in health care (Medicare, Medicaid, and MinnesotaCare, etc.), millions of Americans remain uninsured. Premiums continue to rise faster than wages and the rate of inflation. And those with health insurance pay excessively for those without, those who are forced to use the local emergency room as their primary health care provider.

Health insurance companies have had their chance to provide coverage to those who are currently uninsured, and they have not. And if the government does step in, it would not be the first time that it has had to do so. History is rife with examples of big business taking advantage of people and the environment in the name of profit. We recoil when we hear of young children in other countries forced to work in sweatshops, yet it took the government's enactment of child labor laws to stop the practice in the U.S. We have become accustomed to a safe food supply, yet without the U.S. Department of Agriculture, all sorts of interesting animals used to end up in ground "beef." Even with the USDA's presence, a peanut business recently shipped out its salmonella-contaminated product rather than lose profits. Without the Environmental Protection Agency, industries most likely would still be disposing of waste in a hole in your backyard, rather than ensuring that its waste streams do no harm to the environment. Why? Because the easiest and cheapest way makes the best business sense if the bottom line is your only concern.

Affordable health care for everyone needs to become a reality. Private insurance companies have had their chance, and they have failed to provide that coverage. It is up to the government to once again, step in and provide for those who cannot afford to live with capitalism.