Single-payer health care is not government run

A letter to the editor in last week’s AFN on the topic of a single-payer health care system (Medicare for all) mistakenly called the government-run V.A. health care system a single-payer system.

As health care becomes one of the predominant political topics of the next few years, it is important for voters to understand the terms and definitions used so that the debate can be informed.

There are three basic organizational structures for health care systems. All three exist in the US in some form.

1) Government-owned and run systems in which the government owns and operates the facilities and the health care workers are government employees. This is truly socialized medicine and should be the only structure referred to as such. In the US, the V.A. health care system, the military health care system and the Indian Health Service are all examples of this.

The government is not the “payer” since no payments are made to hospitals and providers. These systems are funded through the federal budget.

2) Government as a payer means that the government pays for health care services, much like a health insurance company does, and defines what is paid for and what is not. However, the health care facilities and providers that provide the services are in the private sector; They are not government-owned and run.

Examples of this in the US are Medicare (for the elderly, disabled and those with kidney failure) and Medicaid (with eligibility based on low income).

3) Private health insurance is the third option. These payers need to meet requirements set by state and federal governments but are run by private companies. This form of insurance can be purchased individually or provided by employers as part of benefit packages and they vary in the services paid for, depending on a variety of factors.

This has been the predominant form of health coverage in this country since World War II but is under stress as premiums, out of pocket patient payments and worker contributions for premiums are all increasing at unsustainable rates.

Currently close to half of all health care costs in the US are paid for by a government-owned and run system or by a government payer.

A national approach to health care that insures coverage for all citizens can be achieved by one or a combination of all the approaches I just described, and the pros and cons of each need to be understood and debated.

However, it is important to not confuse a government single-payer system with a government-owned and run health care system.

-Doug Campos-Outcalt M.D.

Legislature’s actions reflect a dying party’s last gasp

Public servants who suppress the opportunities for people to vote and who do not safeguard their civil rights and safety are not true public servants.

Two months into the 2019 Arizona legislative session, it is clear that Republicans in the State Legislature did not learn from their defeat in 2018.

Rather than searching for compromise with the energized Democrats, they are making one last attempt to turn the clock back on progress by adopting measures on strict party line votes that hinder voter registration, stifle the initiative process, make clean elections cumbersome, put up barriers to emergency voting, make schools unsafe by allowing firearms on school grounds, suppress what teachers can say in the classroom, and hurt our young people by reducing their minimum wage.

The Republican-controlled Arizona State Legislature, and in the Nation’s Capital for that matter, show that the Republicans realize that their actions reflect the gasps of a dying political movement.

-David Gordon

Blames Sen. Sean Bowie for

Ahwatukee Lakes inaction

What happened to Sean Bowie's promise to us to Save The Lakes?

I was at a meeting October 2016 where Sean Bowie spoke and promised us that if we elected him, he would “Save the Lakes.”

He suggested a city purchase or a land swap should be considered for the beleaguered Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Club.

“The Lakes golf course should not become a development property for more homes, and the homeowners in the community a right to be upset,” Bowie, an Ahwatukee resident, said in response to an October 2016 questionnaire.

“This is an important issue for Ahwatukee, and as a resident, one I take personally.” Bowie said.

“I would work with the city of Phoenix and recommend one of two solutions: either the city purchases the golf course and turns the area into a public park, or we look at undertaking a land swap with the owner of the golf course with land elsewhere in the city of Phoenix.

“The goal of both of these solutions is to maintain the open space nature of the golf course. If a golf course is not economically feasible, we should work towards a solution that is,” he added.

Well, what is the solution? It has been over two years and we still have no resolution to his promise. Maybe it’s time to elect someone who really does care about Ahwatukee.

-Nancy Dombrowski

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