By Eric Naumburg, M.D.
The Baltimore Sun, Letters, Nov. 26, 2013
President Obama is reaping what he sowed by relying on the health insurers when he supported the Affordable Care Act. The health insurers literally wrote the law, in the person of Liz Fowler, a former VP at WellPoint, and clearly they know Obamacare better than the President, whose ill-fated promise about keeping your health insurance if you are happy with it blew up in his face.
But the reality is the American people never wanted their favorite health insurance plan what they want is affordable, accessible healthcare. In fact a majority of Americans want a government funded healthcare system similar to traditional Medicare.
The complexity of the Affordable Care Act undoubtedly contributed to its difficult launch; but the real weakness of the law is that once you have health insurance you are still not protected from bankruptcy due to illness or guaranteed access to the doctor and hospital of your choice.
We need a humane healthcare system, not a profit-driven one. In a rich country like America, healthcare should be a public good, not a privilege. If we expanded traditional Medicare to everyone, there would be no need to figure out if you can afford a bronze, silver, gold or platinum plan; instead there’d be one standard of care for everyone.
Dr. Eric Naumburg is co-chair of the Maryland chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.