Single-payer works

Letter to the Editor
Helena (Mont.) Independent Record, September 5, 2011

The IR’s editorial of Aug. 28 suggests that the “state needs insurance competition, … giving Montanans … choice and competition for their health insurance dollars.”
I disagree. The notion that competition and choice between health plans will improve care or lower costs is a fantasy; it hasn’t worked for decades. Competing plans do little else than drive up administrative costs currently costing the public nearly one-third of every dollar spent on health care. Of the $6.2 billion Montana spent on health care in 2008, $1.922 billion went to administration, $1,980 per Montanan.

Health care reform could provide better care at less cost by replacing competing insurance companies with a single-payer health plan. An improved Medicare for All would reduce administrative costs leaving the state with enough funds to provide universal care. Vermont recently passed legislation to move in that direction and Montana would be wise to study this option.

Robert W. Putsch, MD, Canyon Creek
Member, Physicians for a National Health Program

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