Single Payer is the Answer

August 28, 2013

Rutland Herald

I would like to respond to the letter “Let it die a quick death” (Aug. 15) where the author suggests that the Affordable Care Act will inflict “confusion and economic hardship.” Confusion, yes. Any new program will cause initial confusion until the kinks are worked out of it. Economic hardship is another matter.

For one, it is difficult to find a system which inflicts more economic hardship than our current health care chaos. Our reliance on private health insurance, augmented by public programs (if one is income-eligible or reached a certain age), has not produced a universal and sustainable health care for all citizens. Our grim statistics prove it. We pay the most for health care in the world; we get the least for it.

The author wrote that “I hate to see people suffer as much as anyone, but sometimes short-term suffering is a lot better than long-term chronic suffering.” I was curious by this. Does not being able to afford health care qualify as “long-term chronic suffering?” What about those who lose their insurance when they lose their jobs or those suffering under these high-deductible plans now in vogue? Is living under endless medical debt long- or short-term suffering?

I concur with the author on one point. Obamacare will not end the ordeal. Rather, it will mitigate it somewhat. Sadly, Obamacare still relies on private insurance. Contrary to the author’s belief that “Private enterprise responds and acts much more quickly than government,” it is what has brought us to the dire need for reform. It acts and moves according to a certain set of principles, which are not compatible to the universal need of all of us for health care.

The response we need is single payer.

Walter Carpenter

Montpelier