By Ken Lefkowitz
New York Times, Letters, August 16, 2019
To the Editor:
Re: “The Tough Calls on ‘Medicare for All’” (The Upshot, Aug. 13):
The discussions about choice and competition, as well as cost, ignore some critical information and perspectives.
American health care is financed through a free market that has proved ineffective in controlling costs because it requires transparency so consumers can compare prices. But the dizzying complexity of both medical care and insurance plan design precludes the consumer from making informed choices. Primary care physicians strongly influence choice, and insurance company provider networks limit choice even further.
Also, single-payer universal health care, or Medicare for all, is quite cost-effective. It has proved to be less costly in other countries. It will wring out the duplicative and wasteful administrative costs of the free marketplace and provide powerful national negotiating leverage to stabilize medical provider and pharmacy costs.
A University of Massachusetts study demonstrated that Medicare for all can cover all citizens, including today’s uninsured, eliminating deductibles and co-pays, and still save an estimated $600 billion.
Even those who receive health care through their unions or companies should welcome such a plan, since premiums, deductibles and co-pays have been rising at a rapid rate in their plans.
The writer, a consultant, has designed and managed health care plans for major companies.