In her comments Why single-payer is not inevitable, Janet Trautwein asserts that a single-payer system would force an individual to forgo potential life-saving treatments, or finance them out-of-pocket. She recommends instead free-market reform, presumably private health plans.
She has it backwards. A single-payer system would provide comprehensive benefits and would eliminate financial barriers to care. Private health plans keep their premiums competitive by reducing benefits covered and increasing out-of-pocket spending through patient cost-sharing. This free-market solution of underinsurance is making healthcare unaffordable for many.
Her support for private plans is no surprise. As chief executive officer and executive vice president of the National Association of Health Underwriters, she represents an industry that exists for the purpose of protecting private insurers from the costs of individuals who need healthcare. In sharp contrast, a single-payer system is designed to protect individuals with healthcare needs from the high costs of that care.
Under a single-payer system, the administrative waste of the health underwriters would be eliminated along with the waste of the private health plans. That would benefit us all.
Don McCanne, M.D.San Juan Capistrano, Calif.Senior health policy fellowPhysicians for a National Health Program
In other countries, nationalized healthcare works
Regarding Why single-payer is not inevitable:
I have to disagree with this extremely biased opinion piece, written by someone with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
Nationalized healthcare works well in industrialized countries outside the U.S. Sure, there are problems and limitations, but Britain, France and Canada have healthy economies with strong currencies. Their national healthcare programs improve the quality of life for their citizens as a whole and dont hurt their respective standards of living. When one in seven Americans dont have adequate health care, its time for a change.
Graham MooreSupervisorRegional access programsVancouver (British Columbia) Coastal Health Authority
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