The impact our costly, unaffordable, unsustainable, inefficient health care system has on current national financial and economic woes has been largely under-emphasized. The U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive as well as inadequate. Life expectancy, accessibility, quality of care, infant mortality and immunization rates don't compare. Costs are twice as much as other industrialized nations. We spend more and get less because private insurers waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing, huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors office and hospital administrative costs, to comply with the private insurance bureaucracy, combined with insurance company overhead costs, consumes 33 percent of spent health care dollars. Together, that amounts to over $350 billion per year, enough to pay for and provide care for every single American, including the 24 million left out of the new reform law. Single-payer financing is the only way to recapture this wasted money.
Richard A. Damon, M.D.