Letter to the Editor: At the current rate of increase, health care costs in the United States will n
By Kevin Costa
At the current rate of increase, health care costs in the United States will not remain sustainable. Congress should pass comprehensive health care reform in order to supply affordable health care, which will have numerous economic as well as overall health benefits.

Many people think the status quo in health care is sustainable. They are wrong. Per capita health care costs in the United States rose to over $8,000 in 2009, and at their present rate of increase will surpass $16,000 by 2019. Without the passage of comprehensive health care reform, inflation, unemployment, bankruptcy rates, the number of uninsured, taxes, trade deficits and budget deficits will all be higher than they would otherwise be.

We have the most expensive health care in the world, with per capita costs that are at least double those of any other country, and yet compared to people in the vast majority of other advanced industrial countries, we live shorter, sicker lives: our infant mortality rate is higher, our life span is shorter and we experience many more years of severe, chronic debilitating illness. Congress must pass comprehensive health care reform now so that millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes will be saved, so that millions of personal bankruptcies will be prevented, and so that we, our children and our grandchildren may live longer, healthier lives.

— Kevin Costa is a political analyst for Radio France International’s Portuguese language service for Africa. Costa used to work with the International Organization for Migration.

Costa lived in Amherst during the latter half of the 1970s, on Main Street, right across from the Amherst Green. He studied at our own Robert Frost Library, slid down Memorial Hill on a cafeteria tray and caught an unexpected indoor concert from the Ramones that stays with him to this day. Costa lived in Amherst once more in the early 1990s, attended some lectures at the College and again admired the beauty of our campus.

Costa wrote that he submitted his letter to The Student because, for better or worse, Amherst College students are going to be opinion leaders, and so he thought it wise to try to influence our opinion while we are still young and impressionable.

Issue 17, Submitted 2010-03-03 04:52:39