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Letter: Lawmakers should pursue single-payer health system

Lawmakers should pursue single-payer health system

Am I missing something? In their scramble to repeal and replace the dreaded Obamacare, it seems that the primary objective of Republicans (and many Democrats) is keeping private insurance companies in the market by reducing risk and making them more profitable. What happened to eliminating waste, cutting costs and providing protection to everyone?

The replacement proposals all seem to have the same old talking points: “choice” and “access” (as if that’s the same as actually providing health insurance), and eliminating the “mandate,” which inevitably means underwriting “cherry picking” and eliminating other ACA benefits. A voucher or tax credit toward a private policy is a con. Vouchers are simply coupons. What value is a $5,000 coupon toward a new Cadillac, if you can’t come up with the additional $50,000? Buying insurance across state lines simply bypasses the consumer protections against virtually worthless, low-premium policies with ridiculous deductibles, copays and exclusions.

If the Republican belief in cutting expenses while protecting benefits is truly the goal, a public single-payer, universal basic health insurance would at least be seriously considered. It’s proven to be far cheaper with better protection and results everywhere else and would save us billions. But even mentioning it seems to be political suicide by Republicans, who continue to search for a few tweaks to keep private insurance companies happily skimming a third or more from our health care expenditures, and passing the buck to the states. Sad!

Richard Clements


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