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The business case for a single-payer healthcare system in California

The business case for a single-payer healthcare system in California
Democratic candidates for governor Gavin Newsom, left, and Antonio Villaraigosa participate in a forum in San Francisco on Jan. 30. (Jeff Chiu / AP)

To the editor: George Skelton’s March 12 column, “Villaraigosa is right, single-payer healthcare in California is a political pipe dream,” hits me where it counts: my pocketbook.

Coming from the small-business community, I have felt the financial pain of our current healthcare system on the bottom line. Skyrocketing costs, rationed health plans and telephone books of insurance paperwork make for a competitive nightmare in this state.

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Americans are the only entrepreneurs in today’s global economy forced to endure such an expensive and wasteful way of providing healthcare. Germany, Japan, Israel, China and all of our other wealthy trade partners have healthcare systems that give their businesses a global advantage over American ones.

We can spread risk better by putting everyone in the same pool and control costs by providing a comprehensive health benefit package that is the same for all citizens and then pay for it with some kind of payroll tax. In America, this is called Medicare.

My business vote for governor goes to Gavin Newsom.

Richard Fertell, Walnut Creek, Calif.

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To the editor: Skelton is right that a state single-player plan is a terrible idea.

No government entity in the U.S. has been able to bring healthcare costs under control. Medicare faces serious financial challenges. What makes the California Legislature think it can control costs better than the feds?

I am not as optimistic as Skelton that this is just a pipe dream. I think the Democratic supermajority in Sacramento could very well pass a single-payer bill. I also think that President Trump would love to limit the federal government’s liability for Medicare while also shifting the financial burden for all of California’s healthcare to the state.

I do think we need a system of universal healthcare, but both parties should work together in Congress to create a whole new system based on both the Democrats’ concept of universal coverage and the Republicans’ principle of some individual choice.

After all, the feds can print money. All California can do is tax.

Arthur L. Wisot, M.D., Rolling Hills Estates

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To the editor: Skelton and Antonio Villaraigosa are both wrong. We currently do provide insurance for everyone in emergency rooms.

Single-payer healthcare will end up costing California $37 billion less than we are currently spending, according to one analysis. It will insure everyone. It will enable people to get comprehensive and preventive care, which will ultimately cost less than accessing care in an emergency room.

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It will save lives because people without insurance die. It’s the hard truth.

With healthcare costs continuing to rise, California can’t afford not to enact a single-payer plan. We nurses understand this better than anyone.

Maryann Kachur, Pleasant Hill, Calif.

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