Single-payer health care is country’s best option

June 6, 2014

Guest Viewpoint: Single-payer health care is country’s best option

by Bernie Fetterly

The Affordable Care Act makes no sense. The price tag for this health care reform system is unsustainable and will cost taxpayers billions needlessly. It makes no sense to waste time trying to make the ACA work, because it cannot work.

The Tea Party and the Republicans want to repeal the ACA, but they haven’t a workable system to replace it with, so their actions are irresponsible.

We as progressives don’t want to repeal the ACA; we want to replace it with a single-payer system (Improved and Expanded Medicare for All) as soon as possible. A single-payer system has always been the only solution to America’s fragmented, dysfunctional and overly expensive private health care system. The American people must know the urgency to go to a single-payer system. It will do us no good to play politics with the ACA and delay true health care reform.

Why the urgency? The American health care system is becoming controlled by the private health care corporations — investment companies, hospitals, insurance companies and physicians groups. There are hospitals that have formed chains mainly from buyouts through investment companies. One hospital chain has 163 hospitals under its wing. Hospitals themselves are buying up physicians’ practices and even insurance companies to control the market and turn a profit. This can continue because we have no anti-trust system in place when it comes to health care to stop these monopolies, duopolies and oligopolies. When a company becomes a monopoly, the prices they charge usually increase. We do not need this to happen anymore in health care.

The more our health care system remains private, the harder it is to see the doctor of your choice. The more hospitals that are shut down, the farther away a person must travel to locate a hospital. A person could die on the way to a hospital. This is all happening under a private health care system. How do we know that a public single-payer system is the answer to our health care woes? It works just fine in all industrialized countries, and the cost is only about half what America pays for health care. No private investment company can buy out a hospital or a doctor’s practice in these countries. Their hospitals remain under public and physicians’ control. You are free to seek out the doctor or hospital of your choice.

Fetterly is the director of the Tompkins County Health Care Task Force