Single payer system a 'credible alternative' to Medicare's woes

By Dr. David Knutzen
Letters, (Wis.), May 31, 2011

I take exception to the May 23 editorial, "Don't let Medicare go bankrupt." After praising Rep. Paul Ryan for a Medicare plan which would dramatically shift the increasing costs of Medicare from the government onto the recipients of Medicare, you stated: "Those who disagree with Ryan's Medicare prescription haven't offered credible alternatives."

I disagree since the most credible solution to the rising costs of Medicare, and all health care, has been offered repeatedly for many years and certainly during the health care discussions leading up to the health care reform law.

It's a single payer system similar to those used by every other industrialized country where health care for all is provided for between 8.5 percent and 11 percent of gross domestic product.

That would improve on the 17 percent to 18 percent of GDP we in the United States now pay. With that huge decrease in the cost of health care, Medicare would not be in danger of bankruptcy and other U.S. citizens would have affordable health care.

Currently, 20 percent to 30 percent of every health care dollar spent is paying for administrative costs and profits, including huge CEO remuneration for the insurance companies.

Medicare's administrative costs are 4 percent. A single payer system would offer savings of administrative costs, provide health care for everyone and prevent Medicare from going bankrupt.