Criticism of a Single-Payer Health System Unfounded
Opponents of universal health care systems maintain that uninsured U.S. residents "can get all the care they need" in emergency departments and that those with health insurance "always get prompt care," but that "glowing portrait" has "as little resemblance to reality as the scare stories they tell about health care in France, Britain and Canada," New York Times columnist Paul Krugman writes in an opinion piece.
According to Krugman, a "cross-national survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund found that America ranks near the bottom among advanced countries in terms of how hard it is to get medical attention on short notice" and that "America is the worst place in the advanced world if you need care after-hours or on a weekend."
In addition, "not all medical delays are created equal," he writes. "In Canada and Britain, delays are caused by doctors trying to devote limited medical resources to the most urgent cases," Krugman writes, adding, "In the United States, they're often caused by insurance companies trying to save money."
Krugman concludes, "The bottom line is that the opponents of universal health care appear to have run out of honest arguments. All they have left are fantasies: horror fiction about health care in other countries, and fairy tales about health care here in America" (Krugman, New York Times, 7/16).
"Make no mistake; physicians are committed to keeping patients healthy, which is why the American Medical Association is actively working to extend health insurance coverage to all Americans," AMA President Ron Davis writes in a letter to the editor of the Times.
According to Davis, "America's physicians see the problems in the health care system first-hand, but the solution is not to give up and turn our health care over to the government." Davis concludes, "We are working hard toward feasible and effective solutions to get more Americans covered and hope that others will join us in this effort" (Davis, New York Times, 7/14).