By Mario L. Maiese, M.D.
Press of Atlantic City (N.J.), Letters, February 3, 2018
Regarding the Jan. 16 column by Betsy McCaughey, “Single-payer a danger for cancer patients”:
Most of the facts in McCaughey’s column regarding single-payer health care are correct, but she omits significant points.
The primary purpose of single-payer is to cover more people at decreased cost, so that everyone would be able to receive the advanced treatment she describes. Without insurance, people don’t have access to caregivers for the diagnosis and management of cancer and the other diagnostic and preventive services.
She fails to mention that the U.S. health-care system is last in overall outcomes performance among high-income countries, according to the Commonwealth Fund, even though we have the best cancer survival rates. We spend far more than these single-payer countries, where everyone has coverage. Our excessive uninsured population results in a far higher death rate from conditions that can be managed and treated effectively.
Additionally, a single-payer health-care system is the best way to manage and decrease cost. It decreases inefficiencies in management and can negotiate pharmaceutical prices and set prices for care. Most of the exact same medications are cheaper in these other countries and procedures cost less (current example: it costs four times as much for coronary bypass surgery here compared to the United Kingdom).
I believe that with our innovation and the proper management of a single-payer health-care system we can go from last to first.