Cathleen London (Maine Voices, April 5) makes a strong case, from a physician’s point of view, for adopting single-payer health insurance (Medicare for all). I would like to add a few personal observations.
Ever since I enrolled in Medicare five years ago, I have liked its simplicity and its benefits to the patient, including a much broader choice of providers than is available from private insurers, who restrict you to providers in their networks. I have wondered why there couldn’t be a similar plan for all of our citizens.
In discussions of this topic, the term “socialized medicine” is often used and referred to as something to be feared. It is incorrect to use this term in this context. We are only talking about socializing health insurance.
Nobody is proposing that the government run the hospitals or that the doctors become government employees. Single-payer would simply be a change in how the bills are paid, not in how medical services are delivered. (Whether there should be changes in the latter to reduce costs is a separate, though important, issue.)
From my experience with Medicare, I can say with confidence that the government does no harm to the doctor-patient relationship. Decisions about my care are made solely by me in consultation with my doctor. Medicare is patient-centered.
A study published in 2016 in The Lancet, a British medical journal, ranked the healthiest countries in the world. The U.S. ranks 28th. We should aspire to be first. Politicians who disagree should explain why.
Medicare-for-all would move us decisively toward the goal and would ensure that all of our citizens – whether lucky or unlucky, healthy or unhealthy, more successful or less successful in our highly competitive economy – are fully insured. It would be an accomplishment we could all be proud of. It would make America greater – and healthier.
Michael P. Bacon