Competition would be better for health care than a single-payer system

Published 4:57 pm Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dear Editor,

I am responding to The Advocate-Messenger March 4-5 article “Progressives deliver messages for U.S. Representative Guthrie.” I know these people as sincere and caring individuals of our community. But the political orientation of this group is not “progressive” as they like to be viewed, but socialist by their goals of government control of health care. 

A single-payer system would eliminate the private insurance companies and put health care choices into the hands of a Washington bureaucrat. I believe goods and services are provided most efficiently when the provider and consumer are in a one-on-one relationship that includes choice, personal responsibility and accountability.

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 We need to recognize that the purpose of insurance is to cover those risks that we as individuals cannot afford to cover by ourselves. Utopia does not exist. Insurance companies pool our money from insurance premiums collected and pay out based on a plan of coverages and deductibles. Not complicated. But health care is never free and somebody always pays. The only way to lower cost is by introducing free market competition. 

The claim that the ACA provided insurance to 450,000 people and coverage of homeless people is misleading. Many of these individuals were forced on the exchange when their former policies were canceled due to not meeting ACA requirements and some of the coverage obtained on the ACA exchange was for expanded Medicare. Non-insured persons have always either paid their own or had their cost of health care paid by the public in one way or another. 

We have not seen a definitive analysis of the changes brought about by the ACA. 

We do know that you could not keep your doctor, or your former plan, or that it did not reduce the cost. Many Americans woke up to catastrophic insurance premiums and deductibles in the $3,000 to $6,000 range. Young people dropped coverage because it was cheaper for low risk individuals to pay the penalty instead of the premium. 

This points out the serious flaw in government-provided single-payer systems. It requires the government to force all individuals onto a government plan and restricts private enterprise. This leads to fewer doctors, rationed health care and higher costs. This is what we have experienced under Obamacare. 

I am old enough to remember when doctors made house calls. The government was not involved, life was simple, and everyone was served. There is no reason we cannot have that today if we resist passing the cost to the “forgotten man.” That forgotten man is not only the hard-working struggling taxpayer but also our children and grandchildren. We need to take responsibility and accountability for our health today. 

The ACA expanded the size and scope of a government that already has a debt of $22 trillion. The number is incomprehensible. Health care should not be.

Bernie Hunstad