Obamacare or Medicare for All?

By Jerome P. Helman, M.D.
Los Angeles Times, Letters, Nov. 16, 2013

Re "Obamacare's dismal stats," Editorial, Nov. 14:

With federally fabricated smoke and mirrors, and with the persistent use of unintended consequences as excuses, Obamacare is truly a sinking ship. No amount of spin can save it now. We must look to reparation.

The Times' editorial could have noted that many people who are leaving the individual insurance market or who are being dumped by their carriers have policies that conform to the Affordable Care Act. Health insurers have relentlessly increased the individual policy premiums to the point of being unaffordable.

The Times also mentions that the insurance options on the exchanges for small businesses have been narrowed. This "narrow network" tactic is nothing new; it has been used by health insurers since preferred provider organizations in the 1970s began to discount reimbursements to physicians and hospitals. This had nothing to do with quality or efficiency, but it did limit access to care and effectively rationed care to the individual.

We should not sit idly by. The time has come to eliminate the complicit health insurers, place price controls on medications and medical equipment, and make hospitalization affordable to all. We need single-payer now: Medicare for all.

Jerome P. Helman, M.D., resides in Venice, Calif.,0,...