Chico Enterprise Record
Published April 10, 2013

The Enterprise-Record has recently published a number of news articles and letters to the editor blaming Obamacare for projected increases in health care costs. These articles and letters really miss the point.

Health care costs have, over the past quarter century, increased at more than twice the rate of overall inflation without any help whatsoever from Obamacare. The real culprit is a fragmented, irrational health care financing and delivery system more dedicated to corporate profits than public health. Anyone who doubts this should read Steven Brill’s devastating article, “Bitter Pill,” published in the March 4 edition of Time magazine.

While Obamacare is not culpable for causing increases in health care costs, it is culpable for not preventing them. Conservatives are right when they say Obamacare lacks effective cost controls. However, their proposed solutions involve a deluded reliance on “market forces,” which will not work, and will in fact only serve to make an already bad situation even worse.

The real solution, hinted at in Brill’s article, is a single-payer system of “improved Medicare for all,” which would provide universal, comprehensive coverage for all Americans, with effective cost controls. Legislation to establish such a system (HR 676), has been introduced in the House of Representatives by John Conyers (D-Mich.). Efforts to establish a system of improved Medicare for all deserves the support of all Americans genuinely concerned with controlling health care costs, and not simply perpetuating fantasies about the “free market” as a rationale for corporate greed.

Tom Reed, Chico