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Letter to the Poughkeepsie Journal Sent Aug. 4

By Bill Kriebel

The recent spate of letters calling for “single-payer” (i.e., government) health insurance brings to mind the age-old advice, “Be careful what you wish for”. A single-payer is fine if the payer is the patient, but a single-payer is also a single-decider, and when that decider has the force of law behind it, the outcome isn’t always pretty.

Take for example the case of little Charlie Gard in single-payer Great Britain. Compassionate people donated nearly two million dollars to pay for cutting-edge treatment that might save him, but Britain’s courts decreed that he could not be moved to where the treatment would be provided. They claimed it was in Charlie’s “best interests,” but there’s reason to suspect that the real reason was that if the treatment was successful, parents with similarly-afflicted children in the future would expect their “single-payer” to pay for it for their children.

Insurance companies can refuse to pay for treatment, but they can’t stop you from paying for it yourself. Government can. Also, after you go on Social Security and Medicare, the government will save money if you die prematurely. Government through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has near total control over the release of medications, etc., that can keep you alive.

All this makes “single payer” a very scary proposition when the single payer has that much control over your life and health.