Saturday’s editorial from the Chicago Tribune, "Single-payer health care is no panacea," presented the tragic case of baby Charlie Gard in England as evidence against a single-payer system. That case has nothing to do with payment: The parents have resources to pay for an experimental treatment, and the conflict is among parents and doctors about what is appropriate. Let’s not confuse the issues.
Our debate is about payment, not about care. American health care is good for those who can afford it, but many cannot. Americans pay about twice what the rest of the Western world pays. We must reduce the cost, in part by reducing profiteering. Since the objective of corporations is (rightly) profit, not health, we cannot entrust health policies to insurance, drug and hospital corporations and their lobbyists.
Sick people can’t work, so it is in our interest to maintain a healthy population. Government is the only entity that can arrange such an insurance system, but now we are one of the worst in the Western world in health care delivery. Our elected officials must address this problem. If there is something better than the centralized systems used elsewhere, fine. But the problem is not solved by emergency room visits.
Gilbert Hilllman, Madison