To the editor:
In his Feb. 2 letter to the editor, “Health care delusions,” Martin Jones criticizes Dr. Julie Pease for advocating adoption of a singlepayer health insurance system.
He asserts that a single-payer system would carry hidden costs that would “become a financial disaster in a poor state like Maine.” Instead, Mr. Jones suggests that we should encourage more competition and get rid of “onerous regulation.”
I have news for Mr. Jones: We already have a disaster on our hands. The U.S. health care system is by far the most free-market oriented, least regulated, most expensive and least inclusive health care system of any industrialized country in the world.
On top of that, our health care outcomes are mediocre. According to the CIA, the U.S. is worse than Cuba in infant mortality. Our life expectancy ranks 47th in the world, below Jordan, just behind Bosnia-Herzegovinia and a little ahead of Cyprus.
The U. S. health care system is strangling us. It’s also strangling the 50 million people in our country who don’t have health insurance, whom we don’t hear anything about from Mr. Jones.
I refer Mr. Jones to a recent study in the journal Health Affairs (2011), which concluded that a single- payer system in Vermont would save the state more than 25 percent of its annual health care costs.
Several other studies have also suggested that a single- payer system would yield substantial cost savings.
Dr. Pease has the good sense to recommend a workable solution. Mr. Jones has offered us nothing but the tired old ideas that got us into the health care mess in the first place.