The Health Law, in the Real World

By Nancy T. Block, M.D.
The New York Times, Letters, Feb. 16, 2015

As Elisabeth Rosenthal eloquently documents in “Insured, but Not Covered” (news analysis, Sunday Review, Feb. 8), our health insurance system is little better than the nonsystem we had before the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama’s reform was doomed by the failure to exclude the major profit-driven industries (health insurance, drug manufacturers and for-profit, hospital-based medical-industrial corporations) from taking it over and milking it for profits.

Virtually all of the problems (excluding the initial enrollment difficulties) can be attributed to tactics intended to transfer more cost to the consumer (and the government, which is ultimately us), while delivering higher profits for less actual care, which we are discouraged from seeking.

Congressional Republicans propose to turn even more of the system over to private, for-profit entities; instead, we should be instituting “improved Medicare for all.” Covering everyone equally, and eliminating time- and money-consuming confusion with a clearly defined, dependable system, relatively simple to understand and administer, would save billions of dollars while providing better care.

Dr. Nancy T. Block is a psychiatrist. She resides in Berkeley Heights, N.J.