By Patricia Downs Berger, M.D.
Letters, Boston Herald, August 10, 2011
Holly Robichaud’s column is an inflammatory attack on a common sense solution (“Single payer activists plan to take over,” Aug. 8). Most Bay Staters are hoping for a single-payer system; it is not being “foisted” on anyone. Ballot questions in 2008 and 2010 in 24 legislative districts all voted in support of single payer. The Massachusetts Medical Society in 2009 found that single payer reform was supported by 34 percent of doctors, the public option by 32 percent, and only 14 percent supported the Massachusetts health reform law of 2006.
A single payer system would save money by eliminating the wasteful bureaucracy created by the insurance industry and would allow physicians and patients to make decisions together without the interference of insurance policy makers. People would pay a predictable amount through the tax system with no premiums, no co-pays, no deductibles and no other out-of-pocket charges. Almost everyone including small businesses would save and everyone would be covered for comprehensive care. Single payer is not a crazy socialistic idea; it works!
Dr. Patricia Downs Berger is co-chair of Mass-Care, a coalition of groups supporting single-payer health reform.