February 1, 2018
Dear Mr. Bezos, Mr. Buffett, and Mr. Dimon:
As a physicians and health justice advocates, we agree with you that health care is among the greatest issues facing society today. Your tremendous resources provide a unique opportunity to advocate for a health program to benefit all Americans: a universal, single-payer system.
Mr. Buffett describes our profit-based health system as a “tapeworm,” a parasite whose survival depends on its ability to drain nutrients from the host. How did our health care system reach that sorry state?
Our nation faces a catastrophic failure on two levels. First, the market has failed to deliver affordable health care to those who need it most. More importantly, our elected officials have failed to enact the reforms that could remedy health care’s woes because they are unwilling to offend big donors from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Instead, they’ve nibbled around the edges with incremental reforms like the Affordable Care Act. The ACA not only failed to kill the tapeworm of profit-based health care, it fattened it up with government subsidies, fueling the twin drivers of health costs—profits and administrative bloat.
Adding one more well-intentioned layer to our labyrinthine health care financing arrangements cannot fix them. Instead, we must to move to one simple nonprofit financing system, known as single payer or Medicare for all. In fact, Mr. Buffett recently supported single payer and said that as a nation “we can afford to do it.” Medicare for all would bring desperately needed financial stability to the lives of everyday Americans, to every unit of government, and to businesses large and small.
As you turn your focus towards health care, we urge you to meet with policy experts who have studied this problem for decades, as well as the health care professionals operating at the front lines of this crisis. Physicians for a National Health Program is a 22,000-member nonprofit research and education organization that advocates for single-payer health care. Our “Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform” is a research-based plan for expanding health coverage to all Americans while eliminating the waste and profiteering of private insurance, and the inefficiencies they inflict on doctors and hospitals.
We would be happy to meet with you to discuss how single payer could benefit your workers, your bottom line, and the American economy as a whole.
Carol Paris, M.D.
President, Physicians for a National Health Program