Letter to the Register-Guard
by Charlie Swanson, Eugene
January 8, 2016
Lawrence Caird (1/4/2016, “Why Democrats support Clinton”) repeats a common misconception about publicly funded universal health care. He states, “Like most people, I support universal health care, but Sanders’ claim that a single-payer system would cost less ignores real market conditions in which increased demand for health care increases its cost …”
A single-payer system would greatly decrease administrative complexity, which in our current system leads to excessive costs to deal with complicated rules from many different insurance plans. Every analysis of single-payer proposals has predicted, due to administrative efficiencies, costs would decrease even with increased “demand” (increased use because unaffordability no longer discourages necessary care).
It is estimated that a particular proposal supported by Sanders, HR 676, would result in an additional $15 trillion in federal spending over ten years. Often neglected is that this would replace $20 billion in spending by individuals and employers, resulting in $5 trillion in savings.
The U.S. has the most expensive health care system in the world by far, with worse health care outcomes than most developed countries. Much of this is due to applying “real market conditions”, appropriate in many situations, to health care.
The 2015 legislature authorized a study so that by the 2017 session we will have real data regarding the expected savings from an Oregon single-payer system (or another system). This should lead to appropriate reforms – to help make this so, join with HCAO Eugene every first Tuesday at 7 pm at the First United Methodist Church.