Our multi-payer system of health care isn’t working

Our multi-payer system of health care isn't working

By Jay Brock, Washington Post. Above photo: A man looks over the Affordable Care Act sign-up page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in 2013. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Regarding the March 23 editorial “Maryland’s ingenious plan to fix Obamacare”:

Under our current multiple-payer system of health care, we have two major problems: Too many people have no (or unaffordable) health coverage, and we spend too much for the health care we get as a nation. Our incomprehensibly complicated and costly health insurance system diverts hundreds of billions of dollars into wasteful administrative costs rather than providing real care to real patients. Politicians can interfere with the system at will, causing more disruption that results in poor health outcomes as well as medical bankruptcies for hundreds of thousands of hard-working families each year.

Our current multiple-payer system doesn’t work well for many people or many providers — just ask patients and physicians. But it does inure to the benefit of the health insurance industry.

The editorial can recommend a little trimming here, and maybe even a little real change there, but the underlying problems remain: The current system is unwieldy, unworkable, overpriced and ultimately out of control, because in our system no one is really in charge. No one is ultimately responsible for getting everyone the health care they need rather than the health care they can afford.

Anyone have a better idea on how to solve these problems other than single-payer, national health care, which would still give Americans the best health care available?

Jay D. Brock, Fredericksburg

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