For the editor:
I find Janet’s article on the disadvantages of single-payer health care to be extremely dishonest. She writes that taxes will be increased, which is true, but ignores the fact that people will no longer pay their health insurance premiums. Americans pay about twice as much per person in healthcare costs as comparable high-income countries, with no other country coming close.
The reason for this is the number of intermediaries involved in our healthcare. She points to the number of jobs that will be lost, but has she wondered if those jobs are helpful to the people who use the insurance? The majority of these jobs exist to help the insurance companies themselves extract as many dollars as possible for their shareholders at the expense of those in need of care, whether by denying services to those in need or by cutting the services offered to the most disadvantaged.
She also says that most Americans are satisfied with their insurance and that her raw numbers are correct but lack context. The Commonwealth Fund found that Americans have the lowest level of satisfaction with their health care of any high-income country. This is especially problematic when you consider that the least satisfied among us are the ones who need it the most. The reality is that while 75% of Americans may think their insurance will protect them in an emergency, how many of those people have enough cash on hand to cover their entire deductible, let alone their maximum outgoings, which can approach $10,000 in many plans? Add to that the stress of constantly battling insurance companies that deny care a doctor has deemed necessary while battling an illness and you can see that our current insurance system is not enough.
As for Medicare payments for doctors being insufficient: they are! Medicare advocates have been saying for years that they need to be increased. Fortunately, there is a solution to this: increase payments and tie the increases to inflation. Simple!
I end by pointing out that Ms. Trautwein is the CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters, which hardly makes her an unbiased source. She literally makes her living opposing public health.
Our system is broken. We can and must do better.