08 January 2008

Tikkun and health care

Tikkun has been a great magazine for a long time, and so when I heard that Dave Belden — who has that fine combination of writing skill, intelligence, and a good heart — had become its managing editor I was happy for both the magazine and for Dave.

I knew he wanted to do a piece on single-payer, and so was again pleased to see Missing the Boat on Health Care, in this month's issue. Its author, John Geyman, MD, professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Washington, past president of Physicians for a National Health Program and author of The Corporate Transformation of Health Care: Can the Public Interest Still Be Served?, writes:
Everyone wins (except perhaps some corporate stakeholders in our market-based system) when we have a healthier population in a society that pulls together, instead of being split apart over economic and health disparities. Conservatives espouse principles of efficiency, responsibility, and eliminating waste. A single-payer system would be far more efficient than a multi-payer system, would have more leverage to reduce waste, and would provide a structure for more accountability than we have today. Everyone would contribute to its funding on a shared and equitable basis. Employers would pay a payroll tax in the range of 7 percent (less than they now pay), with further funding by a progressive income tax averaging 2 percent for most taxpayers (less than they typically now pay for premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs).
When the Lewin Group modeled Health Care for All Colorado's single-payer proposal, we found a higher income tax was necessary to fund the system. Even so, it saved money for 75 percent of households, and was based on conservative numbers.

In any case, Tikkun did a good job here for their readers. Rabbi Michael Lerner, the magazine's editor-in-chief, has spoken out for single-payer for some time. This is a continuation of that commitment.

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