A Free-Market Solution to Health Care?

By Elizabeth R. Rosenthal, M.D.
The New York Times, Letters, Nov. 16, 2016

“How Health Care Hurts Your Paycheck,” by Regina E. Herzlinger, Barak D. Richman and Richard J. Boxer (Op-Ed, Nov. 2), does a good job of explaining a problem with employer-provided health care. But the professors’ solution is not a good one. It will still leave many people one severe illness away from financial ruin, and many more underinsured.

I also know, from experience as a Medicare counselor helping seniors choose among many private health and drug plans under Medicare, that 80 percent do not choose the most affordable plan that meets their needs. This is because there are so many variables in all the choices that, without much more expertise than most possess, it is impossible to choose wisely.

Why could we expect a better outcome if employees were left to choose a health plan on the marketplace?

The solution proposed will not change us from a country where we get the health care we can afford to one where we get the health care we need. By changing to a single-payer, “Medicare for All” system we can increase paychecks while joining the rest of the industrialized countries where health care is provided as needed, regardless of income.

Dr. Elizabeth R. Rosenthal is a dermatologist. She resides in Larchmont, N.Y.

PNHP note: Dr. Rosenthal is a member of the board of the New York Metro chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.