To the editor:
For-profit health care is unsustainable. Soaring costs and the number of medical bankruptcies make that seem obvious.
The drag on small businesses, the most important drivers of our economy, is counterproductive. As the number of health insurance companies goes up competing for profit, the cost of insurance is supposed to go down.
But with 15 percent of insurance company expenses going to advertising, and record profits going to shareholders and CEO salaries, costs are not going down.
In New York, costs increased about 20 percent while money going to medicine and patient care went down 8 percent. As costs go up, fewer people can afford insurance, and in order to maintain their profit levels, insurance companies need to raise rates and increase expenditures for advertising, causing a death spiral.
If insurance companies consolidate to lower costs by having a large pool of customers, there is less competition, and costs go up again.
The only way health insurance companies can survive is by government subsidy.
The subsidy renders absurd the idea that health insurance companies provide the benefits of a free market. I do not want my tax dollars going to subsidize insurance company profits instead of health care.
We as a society can no longer afford insurance companies in health care. The New York Health Act — which provides preventive and specialty care, hospitalization, mental health, reproductive health, all medically necessary treatment — is an alternative to our government paying to keep insurance companies in the business of not insuring us.
Under the provisions of the New York Health Act, New Yorkers are free to choose their own doctors, just as Medicare patients are.
The New York Health Act deserves fair open hearings for the legislators and for constituents. Our state representatives should actively support open hearings on the bill.