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Opinion

Readers React: It’s single-payer supporters who are being pragmatic, not the opponents

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- SATURDAY, JANUARY 13, 2018: California gubernatorial candidates from left: f
Democratic gubernatorial candidates Delaine Eastin, from left, and Gavin Newsom support establishing a single-payer healthcare system in California; Antonio Villaraigosa does not.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The article, “How single-payer healthcare became the biggest policy flashpoint in California’s race for governor,” quotes a UC San Diego professor saying that if you support adopting a single-payer healthcare system in California, you’re a “pure progressive,” and if you don’t, you’re a “pragmatist.”

Sure, the candidates who oppose universal healthcare coverage under a single-payer system are pragmatic, but only as that word might apply to the expediency of courting insurance corporations’ financial support for their election campaigns. In terms of real public benefit, supporters of single payer are the true pragmatists.

What could be more practical than eliminating the bloated administrative expenses of the middleman insurance companies and paying for healthcare directly through a unified fund? Our additional taxes will not double; increases will actually amount to considerably less than we are now paying in premiums, co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses.

So let’s get our labels straight: Insuring all Californians in a fair and just system is pragmatic and humane.

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Carol Bardoff, San Leandro, Calif.

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To the editor: California cannot stand by itself as the sole provider of a single-payer health plan in the United States. Instead, the federal government should cover all Americans through a nationwide program.

The cost of insuring all 39 million Californians would be too high, and what would prevent multitudes from other states moving here just to be part of a healthcare system not available to them in their own state? There could be patient dumping as other states unload into California their mostly costly medical cases.

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The strains on the state’s healthcare system, which already has severe shortages of doctors and nurses, would be crushing under single payer.

Matthew Hetz, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I researched what it costs for Canada to provide single-payer universal healthcare to its citizens and what Californians pay for their care, and here’s what I came up with:

Per year, healthcare costs about $6,600 per person in Canada; in the United States, it’s about $10,000. According to a 2016 UCLA study, $367 billion is spent per year on healthcare in California; if we had Canada’s single-payer system, we’d spend $257 billion. Canada’s life expectancy at birth is greater than 82 years; in the United States, it’s 79 years.

Could the Los Angeles Times please write about the Canadian system? It sure looks like we’re paying a lot more for less.

John Boyden, Sierra Madre

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