Why are fiscal conservatives opposed to single-payer healthcare?
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Healthcare in America is at a crossroads. Is it a privilege or a right? Beyond that there is a discussion of who pays.

The political right is insisting that no one should have to pay for someone else’s care (which entirely misses the point of insurance risk pools). 

But is that who we are?

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The next time you see someone clutch their chest and fall to the ground are you just going to step over them or will you call for help? What about the next accident you see? We all pay – regardless. All those emergency room visits need to be paid for to keep that hospital open and stocked with supplies and staffed with nurses, doctors, technicians and yes even administrators.

 

How quickly we forget the discussions we had just a few short years ago that the way to bring costs down was to treat early in the disease process –or even prevent it in the first place. The most expensive way to treat is to wait and show up in the emergency room.

The American Health Care Act being passed by the House of Representatives in Washington will go back to that more expensive iteration of care. There is no question that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) needs fixing – but not this way. Not the attack that is happening.

If we are to be truly fiscally conservative, then single payer would be the only option that would be discussed. Medicare has a 3 to 5 percent overhead.

There are no multi-million dollar executive salaries.

There are no stockholders. 

There is minimal money spent on advertising and certainly none spent on lobbying. A simple glance at costs over the last few decades show very little rise in physician salaries but a giant leap in administrative overhead.

Physicians have been overburdened with unfunded mandates and reporting and meaningless administrative hassles that take up the majority of our time and the joy out of medicine.

Doctors go to medical school to learn to diagnose and treat disease. Spending two-thirds of our time not on patient care has resulted in physicians retiring early, switching careers and committing suicide.

We already have a primary care shortage – this needs to be fixed now. I find it astounding that the discussions in Washington have a deaf ear to those of us delivering the care.

We have amazing innovation and ability to save infants that used to die at birth. Jimmy Kimmel told his story on his show. 

This is a condition all medical students learn about. And yes, Tetralogy of Fallot would be considered a pre-existing condition to an insurance company, though after repair those children grow up to lead normal lives and even win Olympic gold medals.

Do we want to go back to making them uninsurable? Should people with seasonal allergies and asthma be uninsurable?

Comments were overheard from lawmakers that those with high insurance costs brought it on themselves – the ignorance of that comment is immeasurable as any first year medical student could tell you.

This again, is why physicians need to be at the table designing how we care for our population. So I will ask again – will you step over the person who falls to the ground or will you call 911 – if the latter then healthcare is a right and we have to fix ObamaCare not scrap it. 

Please put patients over politics.

Dr. Cathleen London is physician based in Maine who developed a cost-effective alternative to the standard EpiPen in response to skyrocketing prices. London has been an on-air contributor on Fox News and local television stations around the nation. Her healthcare innovations have been featured in the New York Times.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.