Criticism of Bernie Sanders' health plan missed the mark

By Richard Weiskopf, M.D. (N.Y.), Letters, Feb. 16, 2016

I would like to respond to the Feb. 11 column by David Brooks about President Obama in which Brooks mentions Sen. Bernie Sanders' health care plan to expand Medicare and have universal coverage. Brooks wrote, "Sanderscare would take employer coverage away from tens of millions of satisfied customers, destroy the health insurance business and levy massive new tax hikes. This is epic social disruption.''

According to Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), under the Affordable Care Act, 28.5 million people were uninsured in the first six months of 2015. And tens of millions more are underinsured. Under Obamacare, many more people are now covered, but it is not nearly sufficient. Many who are covered have policies that cover only catastrophic costs, leaving them to pay not only their insurance premiums but much of their health care costs. It is true, as Brooks points out, that people would lose coverage through their employers. He does not make clear however, that all would gain coverage under the government single payer plan. And yes, taxes would have to be raised to pay for it, but that would be balanced by not having to pay for the expensive premiums we have now.

Under the present system of multiple health insurers, a large percentage of of the money that private insurance companies collect in premiums is spend for administrative costs. Our current Medicare which covers the elderly is more efficient. A much lower percentage goes for administrative costs leaving more money to spend directly on health care.

Brooks' dismissal of the single payer health plan advocated by Sanders fails to mention these important points.

For more information about the governmental single payer health plan, go to

Dr. Richard Weiskopf is a member of Physicians for a National Health Program. He resides in Syracuse.

PNHP note: Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) is a nonpartisan educational organization. It neither supports nor opposes any candidates for public office.