Letters to the Editor: Single-payer requires new taxes. But have you seen what we pay for insurance?

A nurse evaluates a COVID-19 patient.
A nurse evaluates a COVID-19 patient in an outdoor triage area at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton on Jan. 11.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I understand the complexity of enacting a single-payer healthcare system, and I also understand the slim chance of it ever happening in California. Still, it is sad to see that the latest attempt to enact such a bill is dead.

Despite the bill’s failure, we need to continue to have a serious debate on the issue, one free of special interests and hyperbolic scare tactics.

My spouse and I are 61-year-old self-employed consulting professionals whose only source for health insurance is the Covered California marketplace. Our “bronze” policy has a $12,600 joint deductible, for which we pay more than $18,000 a year in premiums. Because we earn a middle-class income, we do not qualify for a subsidy.


Yes, taxes would increase under a single-payer system, but I can accept an increase to my tax burden, as any increase below $18,000 is a net gain.

The next time such a bill is presented, I heartily encourage my two state legislators (Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris and Sen. Dave Min, both Democrats) to support it.

John Knox, Costa Mesa


To the editor: Medicare works and has worked well for decades. The state of California needs to keep its hands off it.

While not perfect, Medicare is an affordable, well-run government program. Millions of California seniors do not want to be forced to give it up under a state single-payer program.

No matter how good the intentions, a massive new program run by our state will undoubtedly have massive problems. Our state can’t run the unemployment system efficiently or solve the homelessness issue, let alone initiate a new complex program that will affect every patient, healthcare worker and hospital.


Mary Edwards, Camarillo


To the editor: In 1960, my mother was a school nurse for disabled students in Orange County. She participated in a committee urging the adoption of single-payer healthcare. She said, “When everybody has healthcare, everybody is healthier.”

Even if you care only about yourself, if the people next to you are shedding virus particles because they cannot get adequate healthcare, then you are going to be exposed and more likely to get sick. Knowing we had easier access to medical care and a family doctor without worrying about a medical bill would have made this pandemic less of a problem in this country.

Americans needed a good, long-term relationship with the healthcare system before the pandemic started. Then maybe the anti-vaccination message would not have taken such a strong hold.

Caroline Brown, Sierra Madre