Health Care, the Massachusetts Way
The New York Times
Published: June 19, 2008
To the Editor:
Re “The Massachusetts Model” (editorial, June 16):
As a Massachusetts primary care physician, I dearly wish that your optimism for our state’s health care plan were well placed. My fear, however, is that any plan that does not eliminate the colossal waste of multiple competing private health insurers is doomed to failure.
Costs can never be contained while supporting bloated private bureaucracies and for-profit medicine. Most physicians now support single-payer, national health insurance (“Medicare for all”).
Boston, June 16, 2008
The writer is associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and a founding member, Physicians for a National Health Program.
To the Editor:
You hail Massachusetts health reform as a promising model for the nation. But within the last year both the State Senate president and the executive director of the agency implementing the new law have publicly recognized that it will collapse if health care costs continue to rise by double digits, which they have.
No effective cost-control legislation is in sight. In Massachusetts we see history repeating itself: a large expansion of Medicaid in the mid-1990s added more than 300,000 residents to the rolls, cutting the uninsured population almost by half. A few short years of rising costs, however, were enough to erase those gains and place the state back to where it started.
Similar fates have befallen many “universal” state reforms hailed as models for the nation. Without eliminating the waste inherent in commercial health care systems and making comprehensive coverage a right, no country has ever been able to achieve universal health care.
We need a single-payer health care system that will be there for our children, not another unsustainable experiment with obvious math problems that won’t be there just a few years from now.
Mass-Care: The Massachusetts Campaign for Single Payer Health Care
Boston, June 17, 2008