Single-payer health care system would ensure ‘necessary service for everyone’

By Michael Novinson
Times Herald-Record (Monroe, N.Y.), June 29, 2012

MONROE — While the Supreme Court spent months pondering whether or not Obama’s health care plan went too far, Joseph Birnbaum maintains that the reforms didn’t go far enough.

The Monroe optometrist backs a single-payer system where the government would finance health care for all.

Birnbaum insists this is the best way to provide all Americans with consistently good care.

“Health care is a necessary service for everyone,” said Birnbaum, who’s been practicing for 57 years. “It’s not a gift, it’s not an entitlement.”

The current health care marketplace has only resulted in users paying higher premiums, Birnbaum said, as insurance companies fight one another for the fattest bottom line.

Eliminating the middleman means the public would no longer have to bankroll the insurance industry. Birnbaum said this would drive down costs across the health care system.

To those who see single-payer as a departure from the capitalist system, Birnbaum points to the exceeding popularity of Medicare, a social insurance program for senior citizens.

Single-payer would only extend the virtues of Medicare to all Americans, Birnbaum said.

“The only ones benefiting (from the current system) are the CEOs of those (insurance) companies,” Birnbaum said.