Medicare for All can solve America's financial crisis

By Mark S. Krasnoff, M.D.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Letters, Jan. 10, 2016

I’ve practiced general internal medicine for over 20 years, and I’ve personally witnessed the average American’s health care burdens descend into a national financial crisis. Yes, crisis.

On Jan. 5, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the New York Times revealed their joint survey indicating 20 percent of insured Americans have serious problems paying their medical bills. Of those, 63 percent must sacrifice most or all of their savings; 75 percent are forced to cut back on food, clothing or other essentials. Medical bills financially cripple 44 percent to 45 percent of those who have a significant illness, whether they got sick while insured or not.

Today, health care insurance for many merely slows the fall to bankruptcy, and the rest of us are financially hammered at every turn with co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance and soaring drug costs. Employer-provided “coverage” substitutes for the wage increases Americans used to be able to expect.

There is no chance for affordability while insurance companies are calling the shots. There is no chance to rein in drug prices without being able to negotiate with suppliers en masse as other countries do. Our entire health care system is out of control.

The answer? Traditional Medicare (A & B) has a phenomenally efficient 3 percent to 4 percent percent overhead and a proven, 50-year track record. We need Medicare for everyone, Medicare For All. It’s simple, efficient, fair and logical, and that’s why politicians who are beholden to special interests will fight against it every step of the way. Don’t let them win. Medicare For All is the answer.

Dr. Mark S. Krasnoff resides in Ladue.