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Government is no solution to health-care woes 

Pismo Beach

I support Mr. Heath’s desire for a more egalitarian health-care system, but not the obsolete model he is advocating (“Support Senate Bill 840,” June 26). Single payer government health insurance is based on a top-down command-and-control system with limited consumer choices. Costs are controlled by rationing goods and services. The decisions on rationing are often based on special interests and politics, not on consumer needs. Countries that have similar systems are finding they are not particularly good at controlling costs, and they are unable to respond to the rapid changes occurring in medicine. Governments with these socialized health-care systems are gradually introducing market-based programs with more consumer and provider controls.

Market-based systems are more responsive to medicine’s rapidly changing diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities. Everyone should be required to carry health insurance, and a basic policy capping total health care expenditures without mandates should be offered. Premiums could be subsidized so as not to exceed a percentage of income. Beyond the basic policy, insurance company offerings should be unrestricted. Risk-based premiums with subsidies for involuntary risks could be available and would encourage healthy behavior.

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