Single-payer system needed in health care

By Richard Damon, M.D.
The Billings (Mont.) Gazette, Letters, Sept. 2, 2013

On the PBS program, "Nevada Week in Review," Sen. Harry Reid was asked, "If ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it." Reid said, "Yes, yes, absolutely, yes."

He went on to recount the failure of the public option and the health care voting obstacles in the Senate. In reality, decades of experience with private insurance markets have only produced higher costs for poorer quality plans.

Harvard and CUNY researchers say 30 million in the nation will remain uninsured under Obamacare when fully implemented. Montana had 180,000 residents uninsured prior to the ACA. If Montana continues to opt out of Medicaid expansion, researchers say there will be 149,000 left in Montana without health insurance. If Montana decides to expand Medicaid, there will still be 91,000 people left uninsured.

Public insistence to eventually remedy health care affordability and accessibility with a better program than Obamacare is steadily growing. Public awareness of what is needed is spreading over the country, because of the complexity, the glitches, the confusing requirements and consumer objections mounting in the nation on a daily basis.

Soon, I hope, there will be pubic insistence driving political will to achieve a single payer system that brings accessibility, affordability, better quality and cost containment to health care for every American. The feasibility of such a plan has been touted, tried and proven to be better by other industrialized nations. Churchill's remarks years ago will be shown to still be apropos, "America usually gets things right after they try everything else."

Dr. Richard A. Damon resides in Bozeman, Mont.