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Single-payer healthcare saves money and lives, but California should not go it alone

Single-payer healthcare saves money and lives, but California should not go it alone
A patient is seen in 2012 being pushed into an x-ray room at the University of Miami Hospital's Emergency Department. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

To the editor: Over a decade, according to a 2013 study performed by economist Gerald Friedman, the federal single-payer legislation referenced in this article would save $1.8 trillion and benefit 95% of all U.S. households by slashing administrative waste associated with the private health insurance industry ($476 billion per year) and by reducing pharmaceutical prices to European levels ($116 billion per year). ("With Obamacare in jeopardy, California considers going it alone with 'single-payer' system," Feb. 26)

A stand-alone, state-run single-payer system, however, will not be effective unless it includes provisions for preventing price-gouging by privately-owned hospitals and the pharmaceutical companies. Additionally, the newly proposed California single-payer legislation could face a federal preemption challenge unless, like Britain's publicly run healthcare system, it allowed a relatively small percentage of wealthy individuals to purchase private insurance.

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Ernest A. Canning, Thousand Oaks

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To the editor: The problem with healthcare and healthcare costs in this country is the insurance companies sticking their nose in a doctor-patient relationship.

Doctors and patients make decisions regarding care based on what is best for the patient. Insurance companies make decisions about other people's lives based on their own bottom line. With insurance companies and their top executives earning insane amounts of money in the past 20 years, it's obvious who benefits and ultimately who loses.

No one should make a profit from someone's ill health. No one should make a life-or-death decision based on money. It's time to take profits out of the healthcare equation.

Sharon Graham, Huntington Beach

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