Single-payer system would insure more

By Joshua Faucher
Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minn.), Letters, June 29, 2012

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is anything but a complete solution to our health care crisis. The bill still will leave at least 26 million devoid of insurance coverage. Equally worrisome, it will force many into a relationship with private insurers for coverage that is too expensive and often incomplete. We must react by implementing the non-profit, single-payer insurance system our country needs and deserves.

PPACA has left insurers firmly entrenched between patients and their doctors. Private insurers’ new high-deductible plans, with their massive coverage gaps, paired with the individual mandate, will force  the most vulnerable patients into plans that don’t protect them from medical costs.

This bill also ignores the hidden cost our fragmented insurance system brings to medicine. Thriftless spending on billing and coding administration makes our doctor’s visits seem more expensive than they actually are. Private insurers have scapegoated doctors and patients as wasteful when many go without care they need, and accountable care organizations will force the responsibility for cost savings where they can’t be shouldered.

Examples of single-payer systems, such as the United Kingdom or Canada, show that full participation in a non-profit, publicly accountable plan is the most efficient way to justly spread the cost of care. Only when we implement this true reform in Minnesota, and the rest of the United States, will we finally cover everyone.

Joshua Faucher is a medical student in Rochester, Minn.