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Letter: Providing health care will not lead to disaster

Fifty years ago, I lived in Canada through the debate over single payer health insurance and heard all the same “hair on fire” arguments from private insurance and others in the establishment predicting disaster for Medicare, (even after its demonstrated success in Saskatchewan).

They warned that the medical infrastructure would be destroyed, most doctors would relocate to the USA, the treasury would go bankrupt and taxes would skyrocket etc.

When the legislation was finally approved and single payer was implemented with hardly a ripple, the news stories of impending doom quickly faded as the benefits were appreciated and accepted, even by conservatives!

Similarly, we hear arguments that implementation of the New York Health Act will cost billions and that there isn’t even a “template” to calculate the necessary funding. Of course, this scare tactic is a desperate defense of insurance profits, focusing solely on the total cost while ignoring the substantial financial and social benefits of replacing our tangle of special welfare programs and subsidies to private insurance.

Even the conservative RAND Corporation determined that providing public-funded guaranteed health care services to all, relieving every New York business from the expense of healthcare employee benefits would actually save billions and stimulate economic growth. (Oh, and by the way, Canada didn’t go bankrupt, has tax rates actually somewhat lower than ours, and no Canadian ever goes bankrupt from medical expenses).

The question should be, “How are we now funding the world’s most expensive, inefficient and cruel health care ‘system’ in the developed world?”

Richard Clements


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