Letter: Why does U.S. not have single-payer health care system?

Published 8:30 pm Sunday, January 21, 2018

I would like to take issue of the conservative views of the writer of the article, “Single-payer system is not the answer.” Per the writer’s suggestion, I did look up some information on the internet. The World Health Organization ranks the quality of health care in all of the developed nations, and in those rankings the United States comes out 37th. According to the most recent figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the U.S. ranks No. 1 in the cost of health care. Figures from the OECD show that per capita spending on health care in the U.S. is more than 2 1/2 times more than the average, and there is no close second. Now almost every nation with better health care (total of 36) has a single-payer system.

I did ask myself why people from other areas of the world come here for major surgeries, and here is what I told myself. First, they are not from Norway, Sweden, Spain, Costa Rica or any of the other 36 countries with better health care. And second, they are obviously among the very few in the world who are not bothered by spending tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket on health care. This group couldn’t care less about a single-payer system. How can the writer tell us that a single-payer system would cost more? Most of the 36 countries with better health care have single-payer systems that cost a fraction of ours.

We should all ask ourselves why we in the U.S. do not have a single-payer system. The answer is simple. Insurance, drug and medical companies spend billions of dollars lobbying our legislators to stay with the system we have. We can allow our legislators to be influenced by the billionaires, give tax breaks to the rich and continue to deepen the divide between the rich and the middle class, or we can say enough is enough. I wish you good health care — all of you!

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Gary Moeller

Albert Lea