By Robert Zarr, M.D.
The Washington Post, Letters, Feb. 1, 2016
Regarding the Jan. 29 editorial “The real problem with Mr. Sanders ”:
Single-payer expanded and improved Medicare for all would provide universality, affordability and cost containment. Single-payer would allow doctors to focus on their patients’ health needs, rather than on patients’ ability to pay. What Americans want is choice of doctor, not choice of health insurance. Americans want comprehensive, lifelong insurance that assures them they will get the care they deserve.
Although it may seem fantastical to provide more care to more people for less money, there is a preponderance of scientific data to support this claim. In the United States, we waste $375 billion a year on billing and insurance-related bureaucracy, and not a dime of it goes toward a doctor’s visit, vaccination, procedure or medication. In contrast with private insurance with double-digit administrative overhead, Medicare runs at less than 3 percent. The vast majority of Americans and physicians favor expanding and improving Medicare.
So what’s stopping us? Certainly not the facts, because the facts are on our side.
The writer is president of Physicians for a National Health Program. He resides in Washington.