Rejected single-payer plan would have saved billions

By Milton Hirshberg, M.D.
Cap Cod Times, Letters, July 12, 2012

Economists at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have projected that all of medical care spending will grow at an annual average of 5.8 percent over the period 2010 to 2020. The growth is only slightly faster than that of the core system we had in the absence of the new legislation.

So what part of that 5.8 percent growth is attributable to the new act? Well, it's one-tenth of one percent. Using the total spending in 2010, $2.6 trillion, as an example, the increase amounts to about $26 billion now and $40 billion by year 2020.

We realize it's the core system, now tried and demonstrated to be a debacle, that deserves our economic concern for replacement. Its cost is projected to double by 2020.

Unfortunately for us, Congress has consciously chosen over the years to take the road to folly. In 2009, senators, in their unwisdom, evicted doctors who came with a rescue plan: implementation of a publicly supported, universal, single-payment mechanism for management and claims processing, estimated to save more than $300 billion a year. Go figure.

Dr. Milton Hirshberg resides in South Harwich, Mass.