Letter: It’s time for single-payer health care system


To the editor:

Most recent news coverage of our dysfunctional American health care system fails to note the central problem: private health insurance companies. 

Remember: The only reason they exist is to make money. They do not provide health care — despite what their expensive and unnecessary advertisements may imply. They also consume about 30 cents of every dollar they receive on administrative costs. In contrast, Medicare consumes about 11 cents. 

For the last 30 years, American health insurance premiums have increased by about 5 percent per year, roughly twice the rate that the average wage has increased. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that even with the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and its restrictions on what insurance companies can charge, in eight years, 2025, the average employer-based family insurance plan will cost $24,500, roughly half the average family’s income. No “market solution” will fix this because sick people are not profitable to insure. Why would there be “competition” to insure sick people? 

Virtually every other industrialized country on earth has some form of a single-payer system (not a multiple private health insurance company system) that provides universal national health insurance —that is, an improved Medicare-for-all program. These countries also have better health care outcomes overall despite spending approximately half what the U.S. does. 

The “I know a guy” stories about Canadians coming to America for health insurance are refuted by peer-reviewed research. The truth: Canadians like their health care system and would never trade it for our broken one. Medical expenses (even among those with insurance) are the most common cause of bankruptcy in America. No one goes bankrupt for this reason in Canada.

To learn more, I invite you to two lectures: “Introduction to Single Payer” at Brown Medical School on Monday, March 27, at 4:30 p.m.; and “The Future of Health Care,” sponsored by URI, on March 27 at 7 p.m. For details, go to www.singlepayerri.org. 

Neither saving nor repealing Obamacare will fix skyrocketing premiums, deductibles, and co-pays much less shrinking coverage. Massive amounts of undisputed research establish that single-payer is the only rational answer — from both a financial and moral point of view. See www.pnhp.org. 

J. Mark Ryan, MD, FACP

Chairman Physicians for a National Health Program, R.I. Chapter

155 Adams Drive


letters, opinion


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joe sousa

When our Government can't run a DMV properly I don't think Big Gov. Solutions work either. The only way is the private sector way.

Monday, March 13 | Report this
Daniela Abbott

Excellent analysis of what is a gigantic problem in America. Single payer is indeed the only true long-term solution. Saying it will be too hard to implement, or that the government can't handle this because they can't even get the DMV right (^see above) is a total cop-out! Not solving a problem because to solution seems too difficult is NOT the American way. We must fight for single payer because the status quo is not working for the majority of Americans and things will only get worse. We are all worthy and deserving of health care, and I am sick of watching families have to fund-raise to cover long-term health care expenses. Having private health insurance from your employer is totally useless when you are sick or caring for a sick loved one and cannot work. And yes, we can all buy disability insurance if we can afford it - that should cover living expenses, not health insurance premiums! We have debated the issue and provided band-aids for long enough, it's time for real substantive change!

| Monday, March 13 | Report this

Just as K-12 education is a right, so should be health care. No one in America in 2017 should have to worry about whether they can afford to go to the doctor or the dentist. Why can't republicans recognize that the strength of a country is based on the health of those living in it?

Thursday, March 16 | Report this
joe sousa

Yes the new congress understands that Obama Care is a huge failure . The strategy to fix health care, and our economy, go hand in hand. Good jobs provide health car for workers, It's a tool used to attract talent. Talent shaped in our education system . This congress will end the Obama Care disaster and give us a free market system that is truly affordable. Those who have no insurance will be covered under the social programs that are in place. The media hype, all the doom and gloom is quite hilarious.

They get no help from the Democrats who as obstructionist and would rather play politics. The Insurance Companies are pulling out of many markets leaving millions with out a provider or only one choice.

Sunday, March 19 | Report this

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