Cheaper health are for all

Regarding Giving Thought, “Philanthropists drive effort for better health care at lower cost (Oct. 28),” Ms. Tormohlen is exactly correct: Health care is expensive, complex and often frustrating. But while everyone appreciates efforts by philanthropists to trim a little off insurance premiums here in the valley, the problem is much bigger. And, unfortunately, hopes that connecting people with primary care physicians would reduce emergency room visits and result in better health and lower costs have not been realized.

So what do we do? Rather than endlessly tinkering with insurance premiums, we should simply eliminate them. The churn of sales commissions, pre-authorizations, denials, appeals, marketing, and other administrative overhead have resulted in 34% of every health care dollar going to all of that paper shuffling, in insurance companies, hospital billing departments, and physician offices — over a trillion dollars every year. A single-payer system could reduce that by half, saving much more than enough to pay for comprehensive healthcare for every American.

Private health care insurance began as a noble not-for-profit venture but has evolved into an industry that survives by placing barriers between people and health care, in the form of unaffordable premiums, deductibles and co-payments. People die because they can’t afford inexpensive medicines like insulin. We desperately need a new system that efficiently provides reliable health care to everyone, at a lower cost. That system is Medicare for All. We can afford it; we’re paying more than it would cost now, and wasting billions of dollars each year on unnecessary paperwork.

We don’t have Medicare for All yet because insurance and pharmaceutical companies that make enormous profits in the current system give politicians millions to oppose it. If Mr. (Jack) Mascotte and other executives and philanthropists truly cared about securing better care, better outcomes and lower costs, they would exert their influence in Washington and make that a reality.

Dr.George Bohmfalk