By Ken Lefkowitz
The Washington Post, Letters, March 27, 2019
Regarding the March 24 editorial “The demagoguery of Medicare”:
American health care is financed through a free market that is ineffective in controlling costs because it requires transparency so consumers can compare prices. Yet the 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.
Rather, single-payer universal health care is quite cost-effective. Expressed as a percent of gross domestic product, it has proved to be less costly in other countries. It will wring out the wasteful administrative costs of the free marketplace and provide negotiating leverage to stabilize medical provider and pharmacy costs.
A University of Massachusetts study demonstrated that a single-payer system, or Medicare-for-all, could cover all citizens, including today’s uninsured, eliminating deductibles and co-pays, and still save $592 billion. Reduced absenteeism and increased labor productivity in the workplace would be an additional cost advantage.
So let’s move to Medicare-for-all and ditch our ineffective free marketplace.
The writer, who designed health insurance plans for major corporations, is a member of Physicians for a National Health Program and the New Jersey Universal Healthcare Coalition.