The Salt Lake Tribune - If ACA fails, single payer is next

Last chance: If ACA fails, single payer is next

Editorial Board
The Salt Lake Tribune, March 30, 2012

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act should be seen as what it is: One last opportunity for the private health insurance market to prove that it can offer a service that covers the millions of Americans who were previously left out, at a cost that we — as individuals, employers and taxpayers — can afford.

If that is a goal beyond the grasp of the existing system, then it needs to be finally swept aside in favor of something that will meet those needs.

But this is, or should be, the private health insurance industry’s last chance. If Obamacare fails, a return to the cold-hearted free market is not a realistic or humane choice.

An entity with the chops to bargain down the actual cost of care is necessary. At the very least, a robust public option, an idea President Obama bargained away in the creation of the ACA, must be provided. Better still would be a single-payer plan — Medicare for all.


By Don McCanne, M.D.

It is already clear that the structure of the private health insurance market that is perpetuated by the Affordable Care Act will continue to fail us - providing us only care that is too expensive and leaves too many out. Not even a competing "robust public option" can alter that. Now is the time to enact a single payer plan - an improved Medicare for all.

Let's hope that the editorial board of The Salt Lake Tribune - and all other influential observers of the health care scene - will recognize sooner rather than later that the private insurance industry has failed us once again and has to go.