By Samuel L. Rosenthal, M.D.
The New York Times, Letters, November 1, 2018
To the Editor:
Re “‘Don’t Get Too Excited,’” by Elisabeth Rosenthal and Shefali Luthra (Sunday Review, Oct. 21):
Although almost every major country in the world has medical care that is significantly less expensive than ours and most have medical outcomes that are as good or better than ours, your article is correct in pointing out that very few of these countries have what amounts to “Medicare for all.”
The most common systems involve taxpayer-funded, nonprofit insurance, provided by private companies that are regulated by the government. The insurance companies earn operating costs and salaries for their employees but not large profits. There is no benefit to denying coverage for pre-existing medical conditions or conditions that require frequent or extensive medical care. Prices for medical care, medical devices and drugs are usually determined by negotiation and are uniform throughout a country.
By contrast, we have unregulated for-profit medical insurance with a middleman whose “product” we must buy, a product that adds nothing to medical care except unnecessary hassle and enormously increased cost. Medicare for all addresses this problem by eliminating the middleman.