Retired University of Minnesota Duluth professor Milan Kovacovic's Feb. 5 "Local View" column, "Don't tout the economy without health coverage for all," was right on. It spoke in favor of today's young people, who are not as advantaged by lifetime employment and adequate employer-benefit packages as older generations were. What happened?

Our tradition of employer-sponsored health care dates to World War II. During wartime wage controls, employers competed via their benefits packages. That worked for most of us until we entered the era of transient and part-time jobs. If workers even have a health care benefit, they cannot count on it for long and must pay ever-higher out-of-pocket expenses. No one knows how medical prices are set, and they are out of control.

Countries that fund health care for all residents through social insurance are having the last laugh. They taxed everybody according to their ability to pay, then used the power of the central fund, or payer, to negotiate down prices. The U.S. missed out on all these features.

There is time and opportunity to recover. Sen. John Marty's Minnesota Health Plan would get us where we need to go - if we can open the eyes of our legislators.

Joel G. Clemmer

St. Paul