Market-Based Health Care Preferable to Single Payer
With the failure of compromise health care reform legislation (ABX1 1), Californians should reject calls for a single-payer system and instead support a plan based on "increased patient choice and low-cost options, without putting our state even further into debt," Diana Ernst, policy fellow in health care studies at the Pacific Research Institute, writes in an Orange County Register opinion piece.
Ernst writes that Sen. Sheila Kuehl's (D-Santa Monica) single-payer measure (SB 840) would cause:
- A "dramatic drop in the number of California physicians;
- Long waiting lists for medical services; and
- Abuse of free health care."
By contrast, a consumer-directed health care system would encourage "competitive behavior among medical providers to serve individual patients better, give them more choice of services and greater ownership of their health care dollars," according to Ernst.
Ernst maintains that California "needs to make individual insurance more affordable to patients by having health insurers compete for their dollars, not by subjecting both patients and insurers to more state control."
She argues that a single-payer, "government monopoly" plan would be "difficult to reform, much less eliminate." Ernst concludes that if lawmakers "learn that lesson, before it's too late," they "should adopt a consumer-directed plan that will create more affordable health care options for all Californians" (Ernst, Orange County Register, 2/8). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.