Opinion: Slashing health insurance cost pays for single-payer

As a physician for over 40 years, I share the frustration of my colleagues with the waste and bureaucracy associated with the health insurance industry. They provide no value to my patients and create expense (more than 30 percent of health care dollars). Most physicians in the U.S. favor a single-payer system that eliminates health insurance interference with our care.
A recent critique of Bernie Sanders’ proposal for “Medicare for All” by Prof. Kenneth Thorpe of Emory University and touted by the media, is incorrect and misleading. His analysis does not allow for the huge savings implicit in the demise of private health insurance. When we no longer pay for this useless and expensive industry, we will all share in the savings.
Whatever small tax we would pay for Bernie’s program would be more than offset by eliminating health insurance premiums, huge deductibles and co-payments and the anxiety associated with dealing with insurance companies and their conflicting, confusing and often cruel policies and deceptions. Every physician would be in network. Care would be available for everyone — equality. Isn’t that what America is all about?
Canadians are not that different from Americans. When Canada implemented universal single payer in 1984 the sky did not fall, patient care improved as did access, and they saved more than 15 percent of their administrative costs by eliminating private health insurance. When the automobile was invented, the horse and buggy industry had to end. The same is true for the private health insurance industry.
Bernie’s plan will give us lower health care costs and universal access. Who will be hurt by this? The health insurance industry and Big Pharma. They have had their way with us for long enough. It’s time we re-claimed our basic human right to equal health care for all Americans.
Jack Mayer, MD, MPH
Rainbow Pediatrics

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