“I like the market, but the more and more I stay in it, the more and more I think that maybe a single payer would be better,” said Terry Dougherty, director of MassHealth – the state-run Medicaid plan that insures nearly 1.3 million Massachusetts residents – when lawmakers asked for his “personal view” on a single payer system.
Dougherty’s comment, made during a budget hearing at the Boston Public Library, prompted his boss, Secretary of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby, to interject: “That’s his personal opinion.”
Dougherty noted that MassHealth, by far the largest program in state government, spends just 1.5 percent of its $10-billion-a-year budget on administrative costs – compared to about 9.5 percent by the private market, according to studies by the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy. That figure won plaudits from several lawmakers on the panel, including some who have supported implementing a statewide single payer system.
Hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents have endorsed the approach. In fact voters in 14 House districts, including five that backed Scott Brown for U.S. Senate, voted overwhelmingly last year to support a non-binding ballot question that asked, “Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to support legislation that would establish health care as a human right regardless of age, state of health or employment status, by creating a single payer health insurance system like Medicare that is comprehensive, cost effective, and publicly provided to all residents of Massachusetts?”
Perhaps he’s looking with envy at Vermont’s efforts to be the first state in the nation to provide a world-class health care financing mechanism. One can only hope.
The evidence of every other developed country in the world proves that.
Haven’t you heard about what’s happening in Canada???? It takes like 35 years to see a doctor, and everyone with cancer is coming to the US to get treatment because the treatment sucks in Canada and they’d die if they didn’t cross the border.
p>Oh yeah, and 80%+ of Canadians prefer that system to the US system.
p>I’m always amused by the response of conservatives rejecting the single payer idea by cherrypicking a few problems of other single payer systems and ignoring the gross, systemic failures of the American system. To be frank, even if these concerns were really supported by the facts, the death of a few people because astronomically expensive and cutting edge technology were less available under a single payer system is an acceptable tradeoff to get coverage for everyone, overall better outcomes, and much lower costs.
p>No, no it is not. Sounds a lot like “any means necessary”. So you admit that single payer systems with their government control result in the death of people due to lack of treatment options.
First, what I was saying is that these concerns are totally overstated and just fear-mongering.
p>Second, this stuff is already happening now, and would be much more prevalent under a fully free market system. People are kicked off insurance when they get sick or certain treatments are not covered.
p>Third, forms of rationing are totally fine with me. Not covering very expensive treatments for a 100-year-old person is ok if it allows you to afford more effective treatments for everyone else.
p>With a country as rich as the US, the most advanced services will be available. The issue is who would pay for them.
p>Single payer systems may result in the death of some people but they also appear to result in the better health of the population at lower cost. Our current system will crush us financially and thousands die every year unnecessarily because they do not have coverage.
due to limits on treatment options.
It’s dragging down the whole country.
…than death results from people either not being covered at all or being shafted by the coverage they (thought they) had.
Single payer is a very specific thing. There’s one big government run insurer that everyone is enrolled in: a “single payer.” In France, there are multiple quasi-public funds that people can choose from. The UK goes in the other direction and has hospitals directly run by the government. Neither of those are single payer.
p>Every other developed country has a system of health care where the government takes far more responsibility over providing health insurance than under Obamacare/Romneycare (let alone the system prior to such reforms). And out of those such systems, single payer seems rather good. But the wonky details are important.
I’m shocked that the director of socialized medicine in Mass is in favor of socialized medicine. Who would have thought that?
Socialized medicine is where providers work for government. Single payer is a funding mechanism.
p>That being said, socialized medicine works fine.
Sounds like he may have strayed from the party line a bit. The private insurers can’t be too pleased with his opinion.