Jon Mays, in his well-crafted column “Solving our health care problem for all” in the July 9 edition, has introduced the topic of health care in our country.
About six years ago I listened to a health expert state that the 2020 election would center around health care at which time it was expected to account for up to 30% of people’s income. With the pandemic and the Trump morass, the topic of health care got little attention. However, the problem of delivering quality care to all Americans without bankrupting the country remains. Mr. Mays is correct that moving to a single-payer model without making other significant changes is not economically feasible at this time. We must remember that countries with such a model tend to have tax rates above 50%.
So where do we start? First off, the government and the people must decide whether health care and insurance is a basic right or is it a commodity like a car where some drive Mercedes, some drive Fords and some take the bus depending on what they can afford. Then we must determine whether health insurance should be a for profit industry as it is today. Is it acceptable that a chunk of your health care dollar goes for multimillion dollar salaries for insurance company CEOs?
In today’s system, the more care that insurance companies deny the better their bottom line. The ‘letters’ section is an excellent place to have this discussion. In future letters, if Mr. Mays allows, I will try to provide a physician’s perspective of how we got to where we are now and what has to change before we can move forward to a single payer system. Please chime in.
Steven Howard, MD