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ERs cheap in Italy

Referencing Gordon Spunich’s Sept. 5 letter that commented on Jamie Tobias Neely’s Sept. 1 op-ed piece favoring a single-payer health system: He believes that the cost of $662.24 for a few drops for pinkeye is justified.

Contrast this with my experiences in Italy, where I have been taking students for more than 10 years.

I have taken students to pronto soccorso (emergency rooms) for allergies, ankle sprains, broken hip, heart palpitations, etc. Never have the Italians asked for insurance papers or charged any payments. Prescriptions were taken to the local pharmacies, and costs were typically about $10. I know the system works because this summer I had a fall that took me to the hospital emergency room three times to relieve pressure on a bad bone bruise. The out-of-pocket cost I paid was nothing, zero, niente, and I was sent on my way with excellent service and kind words.

Italians who travel to the United States take out massive insurance policies so, if injured, they do not lose their life savings to hospitals and doctors. Health is important in Italy, and the value system says all people should have access to low-cost health coverage, even non-citizens.

John Caputo



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