LETTER: The solution is a single-payer system

Mar. 18, 2014 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

The Feb. 26 letter from George Orlovsky laments changes associated with the Affordable Care Act, to which he gives the tiresome label “socialized medicine.” The Medicare Advantage “reform” he is defending has been a major contributor to the spiraling costs of health care. As the ACA phases in, it stops the bleeding and brings those overpayments to providers under control, one result being a healthy decline in the federal deficit.

Granted, Obamacare has many shortcomings, but the GOP will never accept it as a positive compromise, or acknowledge its many beneficial provisions, or cooperate with its implementation. Incredibly, they still have failed to come up with any viable reform plan as an alternative, as their all-out efforts to repeal it have run out of gas. The civilized world must wonder why American democracy can’t work its way out of a quandary without being stuck in it for decades and wasting billions of public dollars — probably something to do with infantile paralysis in the political system or some of its incumbents.

It is sadly ironic that the most effective, least expensive, most humane and thoroughly proven answer to health care has been staring us in the face for decades but has been political poison — a single-payer system now called “Medicare for All,” similar to those of Canada and other industrialized nations. A bill being launched in the Senate by Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the “American Health Security Act,” would replace Obamacare with a Medicare-for-all plan that would save the U.S. Treasury $350 billion and save 45,000 lives every year. The insurance and drug companies could still make their profits from those who could afford supplementary plans, and everyone else would at least have universal coverage for basic and catastrophic care.

My wife, Jane, and I have been covered by Medicare and a Medex supplement with BCBS of Massachusetts for more than 15 years. Both there and here in N.C., we have received the very best care, including serious illnesses and hospitalizations, with physicians of our choice — all of that for reasonable taxes on social security income and premiums for medical insurance. If this is “socialized medicine,” we are grateful for it and hope that the many millions of Americans now without coverage will someday be able to join us. For more detail on the American Health Security Act, go to www.citizen.org.

Evan K. Miller