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Two failed systems

09/06/2007

To The Editor:

An open letter to Bernie and Hillary.

Your insistence in substituting a single payer system for our present individual health care should be tempered by looking at the troubles the British single payer and its copy in Canada have created.

We  understand your need to appear as the savior of the "little people" or the so-called "poor" in order to maintain your populist appeal, but even a cursory review of these two failed systems should give you pause.

A recent revealing article on this subject by a Dr. Theodore Dalrymple exposes the many reasons that we don't want and shouldn't have a single payer system in this country. Single payer means, paid from national taxes. Dr. Dalrymple, who spent many years under the British system, knows from experience some of the many problems.

He points out that after nationalizing capital expenditures (new buildings, equipment, etc.) stopped completely resulting in rundown facilities. The new system was promoted on the basis of improved health of the nation with lower costs due to less need for treatment. Wrong! Longevity improved and with new, more expensive treatments over a longer time period, costs outstripped the ability for taxes to keep up. Additionally senior physicians are turned into administrators, requiring more doctors. Dalrymple says that costs have increased 300 percent in 10 years with little improvement in delivered services, except for emergency care which has a good rating.

Managers (read bureaucrats) not physicians decide on priorities of patient operations, "not on clinical grounds but according to government targets: they scour the wards for patients they believe can be discharged" to meet government targets. This results in long waits for elective treatment -- proven by many Canadians coming to America for relief.

Get off your soap boxes -- you are promoting a system that has already failed. Make certain that this scheme is not foisted on the people of this country.

Olin E. Potter
Waitsfield

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