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