In response to your editorial “Government Must Pay for Care of Indigent”: There is no doubt the state and county have a legal and moral obligation to treat the poor. The arguments and debates arise when different methods to achieve this end are proposed.
Do we want to mandate employers to pay for their employees’ health benefits? Do we want a combination of private insurance and public insurance in which one-fifth of the Californians who are uninsured get subsidies? Do we want to do away with private insurance altogether in California and allow the government to provide equal access to health care for everyone on a nonprofit basis?
Well, depending on what method we adopt we could end up crippling our small businesses which make up the majority of businesses in the state, or we could continue our two-tiered system of health insurance with unequal access. Or we could model a system much like the one in Canada.
If we were to abolish private insurance and create a single public plan everyone would be guaranteed equal access. It would be administered by state and regional boards. Doctors would bill the government for similar fees and there would be no necessary increase in money to be spent on a plan such as this.
There is a proposal very similar to this endorsed by “physicians for a national health plan” and perhaps we should pay it heed. It’s time we look, either on a state or national level, to a health plan that is working and seriously consider its adoption, if not for its effectiveness and efficiency then for its opportunity for equal access to health care.