By Harriette Seiler
The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.), Letters, Nov. 23, 2015
In her Nov. 22 article, “Many on Medicaid in Kentucky Work for Low Pay,” Deborah Yetter once again makes the case for expanded Medicaid, reminding CJ readers and Gov.-Elect Bevin that many of our hard-working neighbors will not be able to afford Indiana-style adjustments to Medicaid. Deductibles and co-pays will deter patients from getting needed care — for themselves, or for a child.
For Gov.-Elect Bevin, private insurers, and many in the GOP, the solution to rising costs is “skin-in-the game,” a cruel concept that recalls Shakespeare’s “pound of flesh.” Obviously, the cost-cutters want patients to bear the pain — to absorb higher deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance for treatment and/or for medications. As is the case for many enrolled in private plans today, Medicaid patients will end up underinsured — with a policy they can’t afford to use.
Thinking that nothing else can be done to control costs, many well-meaning business people have bought into the “skin-in-the-game” fallacy. I suggest they (and Mr. Bevin) explore a solution that is not only more humane, but also makes sound economic sense.
Every entity in our health care system — our national economy, state and local governments, businesses, families, and individuals — would benefit by enacting a national, publicly funded “single-payer” system. Other advanced democracies cover all their people, spend half what we do, and have better health outcomes. They do not waste money on profit-taking insurers who add no value to the enterprise.
For more information about single payer go to the web site of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP.org), or Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare (kyhealthcare.org). Read the bill that would solve our problems: HR 676 at congress.gov
Harriette Seiler resides in Louisville.