Single-payer would fix health care

By Bob Fischer
Register Guard (Eugene, Ore.), Letters, June 2, 2014

In his May 24 letter Roger Russell said the serious problems at Veterans Affairs hospitals have to do with allegations of veterans waiting weeks or months to see a doctor, malpractice, fraud and even unnecessary deaths.

Those are symptoms of serious problems related to the VA’s size and financing. It’s too small to handle the enormous need, and it doesn’t receive the resources it needs to do the job.

Russell said having a single-payer system would mean the federal government would take over and control the nation’s health care system. That’s wrong, too, with the error due to confusing health care financing with health care delivery.

Single-payer is about financing health care. It’s like Medicare. Under a single-payer system, the government pays the bills and health care delivery is left in the hands of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, a matter between patients and their doctors. Unlike private insurance companies, the government doesn’t intrude or interfere.

Single-payer means the for-profit insurance industry is taken out of the health care equation. Private insurance companies are the reason Americans pay twice as much for health care as people of other industrialized nations, and they’re the reason we get worse health care outcomes.

If we want to fix our health care system, single-payer is the only way to do it.

Bob Fischer resides in Bandon, Ore.