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Letter: We’d all be better off with single-payer care

We’d all be better off with single-payer care

Following the “successful” AHCA vote, every interviewed GOP representative seemed to tout government-subsidized “high-risk pools” as the solution to guaranteeing health insurance for those with pre-existing conditions. The paltry subsidy is supposed to reduce private insurers’ exposure to risk and protect their profits, which seems to be their sole objective. At best, ridiculously high premiums, plus deductibles, still would be unaffordable to many.

It’s worth looking at one of the major high-risk pools: seniors. Clearly these are statistically high-cost users of medical services and back in the ’60s when the Johnson administration brought in Medicare, the private insurance industry was delighted to pass responsibility for old folks onto the government’s “socialized” single-payer program. But ironically, even with this high-risk, high-cost risk pool, Medicare is still cheaper and is fully funded by a modest payroll tax while private insurers still face significant underwriting costs “cherry picking” to avoid high-risk younger applicants and set premiums to maintain profitability for shareholders.

As a Medicare beneficiary, I have pretty decent health, but my wife has various pre-existing conditions as a cancer survivor with a past life-threatening pulmonary embolism and a few other “red flags.” If we had to find private insurance, if successful, our premiums would be astronomical! Thankfully we don’t, or our reasonably comfortable retirement would only be a pipe dream.

How much better off would all Americans be with Medicare for all, a tax-based, single-payer basic health insurance?

Richard Clements


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