Universal health care a worthy goal

I was surprised by Richard W. Montalto’s letter (CR, Aug. 6). The writer was concerned that reform would change health care to a “socialistic medical delivery system,” yet we have socialized medicine now, if by the phrase we mean federal government or taxpayer-financed care.

The issues he raises are important, but they should not be reasons for blocking other essential reforms. The purpose of health reform is a worthy one, to go beyond Medicare and Medicaid and other special programs to make care universally available, regardless of one’s ability to pay and their afflictions. That goal cannot be achieved without government action, just as was the case over 40 years ago, with the passage of Medicare.

I can recall the conversations of my parents with their neighbors and friends before Medicare was passed. There would be a turn to someone who had become sick and lost the savings they had spent a lifetime to accumulate.

Although conservative and “anti-government,” my parents came to rely on Medicare to the end of their lives. They seemed to see Medicare as not so much a government program, but more a program for them and all who no longer had to fear catastrophic medical expenses. For better or worse, only government can achieve certain things, and the worthy aim of universal health care for every citizen is one of them.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.