News & Events

Health care savings with single payer

RE “CURRENT system is broken but not beyond repair’’ (Letters, Aug. 30): Richard Carlton exhibits the fuzzy thinking of many opponents of health care reform. Carlton wants lower costs, no exclusions for preexisting conditions, and guaranteed coverage, features common to single-payer systems, but he doesn’t want a “federally controlled . . . single-payer’’ system. Why not? Because, Carlton writes, it would “cost billions.’’

A federally controlled single-payer system already exists. The Department of Defense provides comprehensive, high-quality health care to 9 million active duty and retired military and their dependents. The fiscal 2009 budget for this program is roughly $4,500 per person. Annual per capita health care expenses with our existing system are approximately $6,000. A single-payer system like the one that benefits our military would actually save the public hundreds of billions of dollars per year.

Maybe there are legitimate reasons for opposing a single-payer system, but cost is clearly not one of them.

James M. Thomas
North Billerica