Single-payer easier, more efficient method of health insurance

By Michael C. Huntington, M.D.
Corvallis Gazette-Times, Letters, Nov. 19, 2013

I agree with Peter Day when he said in his letter Oct. 21 letter that the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is a great deal for the insurance companies because it uses government authority to force people to buy private insurance. He ended his letter with the comment that he did not know the answer to our health care mess, but that the ACA was a step in the wrong direction.

The answer to our health care mess is a publicly designed, financed and managed health care system, commonly known as single-payer healthcare or Medicare For All. The Affordable Care Act, despite its good features such as prohibition of insurance denial because of pre-existing conditions, is programmed to fail because it does not control costs, and it maintains the fragmented private insurance system that is geared for profit of a few instead of health for all.

The very complicated system of eligibilities and subsidies in the ACA has made its rollout unnecessarily complex. Medicare was quickly implemented in 1965 using index cards to register people. Eligibility was easy to define, i.e., if you were 65 years of age or more, you qualified.

We simply need to open Medicare to all residents of the nation and use scientific evidence and public review, as other nations do, to determine what services actually produce health and should be paid for. By doing so we could reduce costs of healthcare by 20 percent to 30 percent and eliminate healthcare-induced bankruptcies and untold suffering due to neglected illness.

Dr. Michael C. Huntington resides in Corvallis.