To the editor:
Some have promoted the concept that a single-payer health-care insurance plan, such as H.R. 676, may have to be accomplished state by state.
Suppose one state institutes a single-payer, state-financed insurance program for its residents. Keep in mind that each state is unique and that many factors may differ from state to state
Let’s look at the potential consequences of a state adopting a single-payer plan:
• Businesses may see the potential savings as they would not be burdened with providing health-care insurance for their employees and their families. This may lead to a migration of businesses into the state if businesses could see that the savings would be greater than the tax necessary to support the health-care plan. Overall, businesses would have an economic advantage over competitors nationally and internationally.
• Employees may see that they would be dollars ahead in paying the extra tax over paying their insurance premiums and migrate to the state. This may occur especially from adjacent states as the employee could work in one state and reside in the state with the health-care insurance plan. Question: Since the tax would be a payroll tax, how would the state of residence collect it?
• Everyone in the state would be able to access any licensed or accredited health-care provider without the fear of cost. This would possibly lead to better preventive care, lowering costs in the long term. It would also eliminate the harm to our economy when families have to declare bankruptcy and/or go into foreclosure due to medical bills.
• I am not sure any state would have the authority to negotiate prices for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment (as the federal government would do under H.R. 676). This may be a negative factor in regard to a state-by-state approach.
• The unemployed and very poor may migrate to any state that enacts single payer, stressing resources in that state.
The great majority of Americans agrees that our health-care financing system is broken. The disagreement is how to fix it. May we come together to dialogue together to create a better and more equitable and just health-care financing system. May we set aside our preconceived, partisan, ideological, biased opinions/positions and work together in this important task.