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How it works

Written by Rosa Colucci on .

Columnist Ruth Ann Dailey demonstrates a good understanding of some aspects of our health-care problems but draws a conclusion based on misunderstanding of how a single-payer approach works.

Under single-payer, each of us would have totally free choice of provider, and providers would be private as they are now. The government is the payer of services, not the provider of services — a distinction that the insurance industry does its best to distort. We would pay a fraction of what we now pay, because a coordinated, national plan is far less expensive than our current privatization approach.

It is the private insurance industry that limits access to physicians, denies payment for sick people once they run out of benefits and refuses to enroll people who have "risk indicators" of future illness.

None of this would happen under a publicly developed, publicly accountable national plan for covering all of us equally, with good medical care. A publicly developed plan is designed with the needs of all of us in mind. It is developed by physicians as well as the government, unions, business and others. It is public, not private. If some aspects of a national plan need to be adjusted to better serve the public, they can be changed.

I encourage Ms. Dailey to go to wpasinglepayer.org, our local coalition, or to pnhp.org (Physicians for a National Health Program) to learn more about single-payer health care.

CLAUDIA DETWILER

Squirrel Hill

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