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We still need a single payer system

By Quentin Young, M.D.
Chicago Sun-Times, Letters, June 29, 2012

The Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health reform leaves much to be done before the American people have a decent health system. Unfortunately, the reform won’t control costs but will leave 26 million people uninsured and everyone else with “unaffordable underinsurance,” or coverage so skimpy it doesn’t protect from financial ruin in the event of illness.

What is needed now, as Barack Obama noted nearly a decade ago, is enactment of improved Medicare for all, everybody in, nobody out. By replacing our dysfunctional, profit-seeking, private insurance industry with a streamlined single-payer system we can save over $400 billion squandered annually on administrative overhead, enough to cover all 50 million of the uninsured and eliminate co-pays and deductibles for everyone else. Moreover, only a single-payer system can control costs and reduce our nation’s deficit over the long term.

Let us hope that the American people will soon be able to join the citizens of other industrialized, democratic nations, from Canada to Taiwan, in being able to see a doctor without fear of personal debt or national deficit.

Dr. Quentin Young resides in Chicago.

http://www.suntimes.com/opinions/letters/13462027-474/supreme-court-saps-states-power.html


Also see this commentary on Dr. Young's letter, which was posted on the afternoon of June 28:

Health care law: It may be legal, but it's not reform, leading doctor says

By Thomas Frisbie
Chicago Sun-Times, BackTalk, June 28, 2012

Don't expect to see Quentin Young cheering the Supreme Court's ruling Thursday that the heath care reform legislation is constitutional.

Young, a longtime health-care reform advocate and former chief medical officer of John Stroger Hospital, says the legislation omits a key ingredient: "a decent health system."

"Unfortunately, the reform won't control costs but will leave 26 million people uninsured and everyone else with 'unaffordable underinsurance,' or coverage so skimpy it doesn't protect from financial ruin in the event of illness," Young writes in a letter to the editor of the Sun-Times.

Young, who now is national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program, says the only effective cure for the nation's health care woes is a single-payer health care system, something he points out that Barack Obama once supported.

"By replacing our dysfunctional, profit-seeking, private insurance industry with a streamlined single payer system we can save over $400 billion squandered annually on administrative overhead, enough to cover all 50 million of the uninsured and eliminate co-pays and deductibles for everyone else. Moreover, only a single-payer system can control costs and reduce our nation's deficit over the long term," he writes.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/backtalk/2012/06/health_care_law_it_may_be_lega.html