By Jay D. Brock, M.D.
The Washington Post, January 15, 2021
Most Americans understand that our health insurance system — the financial basis of our entire health-care system — isn’t working well. The Jan. 5 news article “Health-care venture backed by three corporate giants to close in February,” which reported on how even the wealth and power of Jeff Bezos (who owns The Post), Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon failed to control runaway health-care costs, showed how dysfunctional our health insurance system is.
The problem? Trying to reduce health-care costs without changing our insurance system, with its huge built-in costs — $600 billion wasted yearly (compared with a single-payer system) in administrative costs alone, according to a recent study — reveals how tinkering with the system without fundamentally changing it is an exercise in futility. Without ridding the system of these useless expenditures, and that means eliminating the current insurance health system in favor of a single-payer plan such as Medicare-for-all, no comparable savings can be realized.
Regrettably, the approach most politicians are taking is to repeat the same mistakes of the past few decades: try to fix the health insurance system by tinkering with it. Unfortunately, doing the same thing over and over again hoping next time will be different just isn’t working.
Maybe it’s finally time for true health-care reform that will eliminate the staggering waste of the current system, reduce costs and allow truly affordable, universal coverage: single-payer, publicly funded, privately delivered Medicare-for-all.