Letters to the Editor

Overturning environmental regulations will raise health care costs

Scott Pruitt at his Senate confirmation hearing to head the Environmental Protection Agency on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 18, 2017.
Scott Pruitt at his Senate confirmation hearing to head the Environmental Protection Agency on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 18, 2017. New York Times file

As the debate about replacing the Affordable Care Act heats up, I don’t know if anyone has pointed out the connection between overturning environmental regulations and a sicker America.

Before the Environmental Protection Agency and other government departments regulated air and water, and before renewable energy began to replace fossil fuels, we had lung cancer and respiratory diseases from polluted air and cancers linked to unsafe drinking water. (Remember the movie “Erin Brokovich”?) Sewer runoff and garbage dumping led to ocean, lake and river fish that were dangerous to eat.

If President Donald Trump appoints foxes to guard the environmental henhouse and gives a red light to all federal agencies to limit or overturn environmental regulations, we will have a far sicker nation than we have now.

That would result in rising health care costs, and with cutbacks to Medicaid, etc., and an increased number of sick people not able to access treatment. If you add to this devil’s brew an obesity epidemic, people living longer with chronic conditions and Alzheimer’s, it’s hard to see how anything but a single-payer health care system would be able to handle it. And certainly not the system proposed by the Republicans to date.

Judith Bernstein, Arroyo Grande

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