Single-payer health insurance option is needed

By Joanne Leovy, M.D.
Las Vegas Sun, Dec. 10, 2015

As a physician, I applaud Bruce Gilbert’s plea for Nevadans without health insurance to use the Silver State Exchange to seek insurance and subsidies (“Too many Nevadans remain uninsured,” Las Vegas Sun, Nov. 18). Unfortunately, Mr. Gilbert glosses over the health care elephant in the room: It’s still too expensive, and we don’t get value for our money!

In the U.S., we spend nearly twice as much per person as other advanced countries, yet we have a greater chronic disease burden and are more likely to die in infancy and as young and middle­-aged adults. Obamacare did not help control excessive costs of medical tests, hospital care or medications. It certainly did not help to relieve your doctor of excessive administrative burdens­­. I and my staff still spend hours each week begging insurance companies to cover drugs and tests. It did not put an end to obscene profit-seeking in the industry.

Now that the Nevada Health Co-op is closing, consumers will be forced to enroll in a for-profit insurance plan. Did you know insurance companies ensured the failure of non­profit health cooperatives around the country by inserting language into the Affordable Care Act to prohibit the co-­ops from starting with enough capital and to prohibit them from advertising? Backroom deals have rigged Obamacare from the start. Now Americans are paying with their lives: More than 30,000 still die annually because of a lack of health insurance.

It’s time we stand up to this corporate kleptocracy and demand robust public options that control costs and administrative expenses. I urge readers to consider a single-payer health insurance option introduced in the House of Representatives, H.R. 676. More information is available from the Physicians for a National Health Program at