To the editor:
I was surprised to see the a lengthy takedown of Elizabeth Warren’s healthcare platform that appeared in the Review on July 5 under the guise of a Guest Viewpoint by Dick Polman, a Philadelphia based commentator.
I want to respond with a voice from our local community to provide a different perspective. Polman’s rather lengthy discussion can be boiled down to this: The U.S. health Insurance Industry is too big to fail and therefore cannot be replaced.
The sad fact is that private for-profit and non-profit health insurance corporations have already failed in their mission.
While the Affordable Care Act expanded coverage for some it was in fact a government subsidy to private insurers to continue to provide a patchwork of complex and often inadequate insurance products. While the number of uninsured Americans dropped, under-insurance is rampant and almost 30 million U.S. citizens remain uninsured.
If you look at public health data, the United States is the only advanced western economy that has actually seen decreasing life expectancy for certain demographic groups; most notably white non-Hispanic males between the ages of 45 and 54.
Finally, healthcare costs driven by the redundancy, bureaucratic complexity, wasteful competition, and indefensible over-utilization of resources have continued to soar far higher than those found in any other Western democracy — all this while not achieving universal coverage as so many other countries have at significantly less cost.
I can personally vouch for the efficiency and efficacy of the single-payer universal healthcare model because I worked in one in New Zealand a few years ago. They spend less than 10 percent of GDP for healthcare. We spend almost 19 percent — for worse outcomes.
To continue to subsidize our failed corporate health insurance driven system that excludes so many and inadequately covers so many more is irrational.
Elizabeth Warren has it right. And if you still have any doubts just look at the polling numbers of people’s opinions of health insurance companies. Their ratings are even lower than those of the entrenched, out-of-touch politicians who perpetuate this indefensible system.
It is time for a change.
DR. KENNETH FABERT