Greg Kesich’s Nov. 18 column is titled “Health costs headed for a crisis.” “Headed?” We are in that crisis right now, as the millions of Americans who have filed for bankruptcy because of medical costs could testify.

To add insult to injury, we spend up to twice as much per capita on health as the other rich nations with worse outcomes on two key indicators: our longevity rate is lower, our infant mortality rate is higher. With America’s medical bill now at $3.4 trillion annually it’s not lack of spending that produces these outcomes.

The principal culprit? A grossly inefficient and wasteful insurance model that is estimated to add 30 percent more – $1 trillion – to America’s medical bill.

A more efficient system could provide medical care for every American at little or no increase in costs. Worthy of note: None of the other rich nations are contemplating adoption of the U.S. model. They learned long ago the merits of single-payer, universal health care coverage.

Michael Petit


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