Single payer sensible

By John D. Schirack, M.D.
The Salt Lake Tribune, April 25, 2012

Bill Bowers seeks a better alternative to requiring individuals to carry health insurance ("Better alternative?" Forum, April 13).

The current health care law continues an inefficient, wasteful private insurance-based model of financing health care — a rickety structure that denies millions care, bankrupts patients, ratchets up costs and frustrates efforts to improve quality.

We should go to a single-payer system that moves health care financing from insurers to the government, similar to Medicare and Medicaid, which function at a much lower overhead. The increased taxes necessary would be much less than insurance premiums.

This would not be "socialized medicine." Hospitals and medical personnel would be independent contractors, not government employees.

Single-payer is what most developed nations have, and their per-capita health care costs are half of ours, with far superior results.

If we were to move to a single-payer system, we can save $400 billion annually by cutting unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy inflicted on us by private insurers.

We will also gain bargaining power to negotiate lower prices for drugs and medical supplies.

The time has come to approach health care from more efficient direction and to scrap our outdated, often fraudulent insurance-based system.

Dr. John D. Schirack resides in Sandy, Utah.