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Sunday, October 20,2013

U.S. is heading toward single payer system, sooner the better

To the Editor:

I thoroughly enjoyed Amy Goodman's single-payer article (The NEWS, Oct. 14). I would have preferred telling her directly as she is quite correct on all her statements. I am 67 and have never once in my life had to deal with private insurers (except for auto and homeowners' insurance). I used the military version of Medicare, Tricare, which allows civilian or military treatment. One contractor enrolls families, collects modest premiums and pays claims.

The military system itself is, like the British NHS, fully "socialized" and quite efficient. Doctors, nurses, staff, equipment and facilities are government-owned. I feel sorry for most people in the U.S. who have to deal with insurance companies. My Canadian and European colleagues think this country is ridiculous when it comes to providing health care... and I suspect they are correct.

Perhaps you can pass on to Ms. Goodman that two influential people also believe we will get to single payer. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich told me we will get there but not in the current climate in Washington. Also, the director of the American Medical Students Association (future doctors) said to me that while they supported ACA at the Supreme Court, they support single-payer as the way to go.

If ACA leads to single-payer, fine. But it will take an effort. I have no personal ax to grind on this issue as I have government-run health care via the military, and Medicare if I choose to use a civilian doctor.

Medicare could very easily be incrementally provided to five-year age groups every year, allowing everyone to be covered in 10 years… and as Amy says, at less cost. Canadians tell me they spend less for their medical tax than Americans pay for profit-motivated insurance companies. That is a travesty.

Please pass on to Ms Goodman how much I enjoyed her article.

Bob Foessett, Lt Col, USAF (Ret)
North Las Vegas, Nev.


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Ah, but do your Canadian friends tell you about the unavailable heath care in Canada? I currently have a friend living there with a serious health issue that is solvable in the US but under the Canadian's heath system all they do is bounce him from doctor to doctor and test repeating tests.

All that requires following a strict guideline set by the Canada's Health Ministry. The bottom line is that it looks like they're hoping he dies first before having to spend any real money on an operation that might cure his problem.

As to your Tricare, I'm betting it's not as good this year as it was the previous years given all the information I've been seeing from other military retired vet friends of mine.



I have a whole passel of in-laws spread out all over Canada, and the quickest way to get a laugh in a family gathering with my Canadian in-laws is to suggest they trade their health-care system for ours. I'm confident that you'd get a similar reception in every nation in Europe with socialized or single-payer health care. Plus there's this, from that progressive outfit, the AARP...



Ah, yes! The old I have a friend in Canada story,,,,,I have relatives in Canada and, like Terry's, I have never heard the first complaint. That would include complaints about drowning in deductibles and co pays, changing costs every year or not knowing if their employer will decide to no longer provide insurance as a benefit. Their ages run from 20- 93.