Single payer better than flawed ACA

By Melissa Stiles, M.D.
The Capital Times (Madison, Wis.), Letters, June 28, 2015

The Affordable Care Act withstood yet another attack as the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the King v. Burwell challenge. The issue was whether the ACA’s language allows the federal government to provide subsidies to people who bought health insurance in states that did not set up their own “marketplaces.” As only 13 states set up state-managed marketplaces, this decision has significant consequences for millions of Americans. The Urban Institute estimated that 9.3 million people in 34 states would have lost their subsidies within the year and an estimated 8.2 million would have joined the ranks of the uninsured if the decision was upheld.

Although the ACA has many positives (i.e., decreased the number of uninsured, one cannot be denied insurance for a pre-existing condition), it is fundamentally flawed due to its complexity and design. The ACA will never achieve universal coverage. Even if all of the states had taken the Medicaid expansion, there would still be 24 million uninsured. The ACA perpetuates the central role of for-profit interests (insurance companies, Big Pharma, device manufacturers) in the U.S. health care system. We believe this is an unacceptable and an unsustainable health care model.

We believe the way to more forward is to institute a single-payer system that would achieve truly universal, more affordable and comprehensive health care. The annual savings ($400 billion) alone would help finance the system. We believe that health care is a human right.

Everybody in, nobody out!

Dr. Melissa Stiles resides in Madison. She submitted this letter on behalf of the Linda and Gene Farley Chapter of Wisconsin Physicians for a National Health Program.