Use opportunity to reform health care

By Elizabeth Frost, MD
Pioneer Press
Letter to the Editor
Sunday, November 23, 2008

As a family practice doctor who works with the uninsured in St. Paul, I have recently become involved in health care reform. I believe single-payer national health insurance is the only way to provide quality affordable care for all.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has estimated that single-payer can save 10 percent of health costs overall -- amounting to $300 billion annually. The savings come from slashing administrative waste.

As the economy worsens and we see our auto industry drowning in health care costs, the question becomes not how can we afford to have single-payer health care, but how can we afford not to have it?

Rahm Emanuel, chief-of-staff designate, said the economic crisis "provides the opportunity, as the president-elect has said repeatedly, to do things that Americans have pushed off for years." I believe single-payer may be one of those things, and the time is now to institute the change.