A recent article, "Universal healthcare crosses the partisan divide" argued thatlike it or nota single-payer system is inevitable in the U.S. While I wholeheartedly agree that we need to provide every American with access to quality healthcare coverage, I cannot and will not believe that it will come from a government-run model. While such a system has the potential to provide universal access to care, it would do so at the devastating cost of quality and choice.
Under a single-payer system, the government would hold a monopoly over coverage, offering a one-size-fits-all insurance plan. So when the government decides to reduce or deny funding for treatments determined to be too costly, an individual has to forgo potential life-saving treatments, or finance them out-of-pocket. This is on top of the perilous problems other countries have encountered with this system, including substandard care, long waiting lists, loss of physicians, forced outsourcing and healthcare rationing.
No one is denying the need for healthcare reform or the moral imperative of providing healthcare access to all Americans; but I absolutely disagree with the idea that we can only accomplish these things through a single-payer system. We need to consider alternative healthcare reform solutions, such as free-market reform, and just say no to single-payer.
Janet TrautweinChief executive officer and executive vice presidentNational Association of Health UnderwritersArlington, Va.
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