LETTER: A Template for Health Care, Marc H. Lavietes, MD, Our Town Downtown

By Marc H. Lavietes, March 14, 2019

Colette Swietnicki’s article in the February 21 - 27 issue — “Enough already! Pass the New York Health Act” — is right on target. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act has shown us that centralization of the health care delivery system is beneficial. The ACA has both lowered the rate of rise of medical care costs and reduced the number of uninsured. But medical costs continue to rise and remain problematic for many Americans and medical debt remains the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S. Only a universal single payer system can simplify this delivery system and eliminate waste. Opponents of NY Health argue that an abrupt transition to a universal single payer system will be traumatic.

In truth, transition to a single payer system is both feasible and the only way to minimize cost. At present, much of our health care dollar goes to administrative waste, i.e., pre-authorization, complicated billing and credentialing procedures and corporate profit. These can not be minimized by further incremental change.

As New Yorkers, we share a proud history of advancing progressive social legislation. Under Governor Al Smith 100 years ago, we passed momentous legislation regarding minimum wage and workplace safety issues that later served as a template for the New Deal.

Let us now provide the template for a robust national health care system to come.

Marc H Lavietes, M.D. Soho

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