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.