Single payer, or something else?
Re “State single- payer plan is doable,” column, May 28
Yes, California could do single-payer healthcare. Unfortunately, it would be a complete disaster.
It would be too expensive, and one state is too small a risk pool, but the real reason it would fail is the incompetence of the government. Medicare, for example, faces insolvency despite pleas from the trustees to address the issue. The Department of Veterans Affairs program is an embarrassment. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is cumbersome, and the current Republican plan is worse.
Fortunately, we have two models that are worth looking at and would be close to the single-payer goal: The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and Medicare Advantage. Both are run via private insurers and experienced personnel; plus, we know they work, and the insured know they work. That gets rid of much of the uncertainty that would exist under a California-only plan.
Why we have two such examples of what works and still seek for something better, I will never understand. Kevin Minihan
I am an insurance agent. I think a singlepayer plan for all Americans is the path this country should take. Calling such a plan socialized medicine is a regression to the red scares of the 1950s.
Having insurance companies involved in our care is one of the major reasons why our healthcare system seems so confusing and unfair. It’s why there are no standardized costs for hospital stays or visits to the doctor. It’s why there are physician and hospital networks that exclude you if you don’t belong.
This is not the case with plain old Medicare. Costs are standardized, and if the hospital takes Medicare, it takes you. You can use it anywhere in the United States.
Why should only seniors get the best healthcare in America? Give it to everybody and join the rest of the industrialized world. Martin Schoen
In reading through Michael Hiltzik’s column about a doable singlepayer system for all in California, I found a glaring omission. Has anybody asked the tens of thousands of physicians in this state if they’re willing to accept the much lower Medicare or Medi-Cal rates as payment for their services?
These dedicated men and women struggled for years in medical school, and most racked up student debt reaching the six-figure range. The piein-the-sky single-payer system would probably require all of these doctors to accept what would amount to a mandatory, state-sponsored, medical minimum wage.
Hiltzik wrote all California residents could seek appropriate medical care from “any licensed doctor in the state.” And that really is the key, isn’t it? We would get care from those physicians who decide to remain in the new state of Socialist California. Jim Rahm