For most people, things would be better under single-payer health insurance

To the Editor:

I would like to reassure Mr. Richard E. Fisher [Letters, “Single-payer health care hurts patients,” The Enterprise, Jan. 18, 2018] about the concept of single-payer health care. It appears that the talk show he heard was misinformed.

In the United States, access to health care is rationed by the private health-insurance companies. More than 50 million Americans have no health insurance. Consequently, over 100 Americans die every day from lack of access to health care.

While the Canadian system is not perfect, no people die in Canada due to lack of health insurance.  Apparently there can be a wait in Canada for elective surgery, and that may be why Canadians come here.

Mr. Fisher has a point about the Veterans Affairs and its problems but single-payer would not be government-run health care. Where you go for health care would not be controlled by the health-insurance industry.

Under single-payer, you would get a health-care card and be able to go to any doctor or hospital in the U.S. Doctors would not be government employees. Hospitals would remain in private hands. You would get free choice of doctor and hospital.

Costs would not skyrocket under single-payer as with Obamacare. By eliminating the health-insurance middleman, we would save $350 billion a year in administrative costs and profits. Doctors and hospitals would be relieved of huge amounts of paperwork.

The savings would be used to cover everyone and fully cover those who are under-insured. While more people would seek health care because they’re insured, they would see the doctor sooner and prevent more costly treatment later.     

Where the “single payer” name comes from is that the government would negotiate with the pharmacy companies on behalf of all of us. The VA certainly has its headaches, but it gets a 40-percent discount on medicines because it covers so many patients.

We would all benefit like that under single payer. The pharmacy industry claims that single-payer would lead to less research and development. In fact much research and development is already funded by the National Institutes of Health, and this would grow under single-payer.

For most people, things would be better under single-payer. All medically necessary care would be funded under single-payer — no more bills, no more deductibles, no more copays. Instead of paying a health-insurance company, most of us would pay the same amount or less through taxes.

Your readers may think single-payer is the same as socialism. Not at all. Single-payer eliminates large faceless companies choosing our doctors for us, telling them how to treat their patients, and overcharging us for medicines.

We take back control of our health care, and we save money. And no one is left out. Maybe this is why many people who voted for President Trump are in favor of single-payer health care.

Linda Delfs


Editor’s note: Linda Delfs’s letter is based on information in the Harvard Business Review, the organization Public Citizen, and Physicians for a National Health Program. A local group affiliated with PHNP meets at B’nai Sholom synagogue in Albany.

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