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Can we afford it? We already pay for it

LEANN KARSCHNER

Hughesville

I’m writing in response to letter writer Mike Kerstetter of Watsontown and others who are concerned about the cost of progressive programs, such as “free” single-payer health care and tuition.

Of course, neither would be free; nothing is!

I’ve seen a variety of price tags associated with single-payer health care, from $1.38 trillion a year (University of Massachusetts-Amherst), to $2.5 trillion (Emory University), to the latest estimate from a libertarian think tank, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, of $3.2 trillion per year.

Sounds like a lot, but we are currently paying $3.5 trillion per year for health care, and that’s without 100 percent coverage.

Even the Mercatus Center, the group that is most actively working against single-payer, shows we will actually save money by instituting single-payer.

Not only will we save money, but we will have every U.S. citizen covered, without premiums, deductibles, or co-pays.

How can we NOT afford it?

Other countries have been offering “free” public college tuition for decades because they place value on higher education, and making that education accessible to all who seek it.

Many states offer or are considering “free” tuition, including New York, West Virginia and Tennessee.

To extend that idea nationwide, Bernie Sanders has proposed a small tax on stock trades.

Even if we can’t agree on “free” tuition for public college (yet), I would think we could at least agree to help alleviate the suffocating student loan debt, which is now about $1.4 trillion.

We are currently charging students and their parents an average of 6 percent for college loans (banks borrow at about 2.5 percent).

At the very least, we should agree that needs to change.

That change will only come about if we vote for people who are willing to implement or at least debate it at the national level.

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