We need Medicare for all

It was disconcerting for me to read your editorial today, Oct. 22, 2017, “Have we created a monster.” It seems that The Telegraph makes the same mistake that nearly everyone who discusses health care in America today makes.

You (and they) continue to refer to “bailing out the insurance companies” as if the insurance companies will fail if they don’t receive these payments. We need to stop calling it a “bailout” and start calling it what it is: Extortion by the insurance industry and politicians.

It’s painful that this needs to be stated, but the whole concept of insurance is to spread the risk as broadly as possible so that the premiums paid when you’re healthy are available to pay for care when you’re sick.

By segmenting the market, insurance companies are allowed to make huge profits in markets where people are relatively well (i.e. employer sponsored) while receiving subsidies to insure the people who are not part of an organized group large enough to negotiate a fair price. Blackmailing the tax payer (via Congress) into providing more subsidies by pulling out of these markets is (or should be) a crime.

The population covered by the ACA is less than 8.5 percent of the population not covered by Medicare or the military, yet The Telegraph perpetuates the myth that Obamacare is the problem. The problem is that the health care industry and the political cronies they support through their contributions (nearly $274 million in the last election cycle) “insures” that the myth continues.

The other myth perpetuated mostly by conservatives is that private industry does a better job than government in allocating dollars spent on health care.

A simple comparison demonstrates the falseness of this proposition. The administration costs for Medicare is approximately 2.2 percent of total expenditures, while the same portion for private insurance is about 12.4 percent, according to an April 2017 study by Annals of Internal Medicine.

Trump was right. Health care does not need to be so complicated. To spread the health care risk across the broadest possible population and reduce costs, we need to do what every other modern nation in the world does at half the cost. We need Medicare for ALL.