A senior Patrick administration health care official said Friday that a single payer system may work more effectively and efficiently than Massachusetts’s existing insurance market, a high-profile endorsement that raised eyebrows at a legislative hearing.So - no fancy buildings and the money that is wasted on excessive salaries is instead spent on providing health care. What's not to like - unless you are a health insurance executive drinking excessively from the health care teat.
“I like the market, but the more and more I stay in it, the more and more I think that maybe a single payer would be better,” said Terry Dougherty, director of MassHealth – the state-run Medicaid plan that insures nearly 1.3 million Massachusetts residents – when lawmakers asked for his “personal view” on a single payer system.
Dougherty’s comment, made during a budget hearing at the Boston Public Library, prompted his boss, Secretary of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby, to interject: “That’s his personal opinion.”
Dougherty noted that MassHealth, by far the largest program in state government, spends just 1.5 percent of its $10-billion-a-year budget on administrative costs – compared to about 9.5 percent by the private market, according to studies by the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy. That figure won plaudits from several lawmakers on the panel, including some who have supported implementing a statewide single payer system.
After his remarks, Dougherty told the News Service that he’s learned to appreciate “elements of single payer” during his 30 years in health care.
“It’s got to be better than this devil-may-be marketplace,” he said. “We don’t build big buildings. We don’t have high salaries. We don’t have a lot of marketing, which makes, to some extent, some of the things that we do easier and less costly than some things that happen in the marketplace. Overall, my point is, we have individuals who work in state government in MassHealth ... who are just as smart, just as tactile, just as creative as people who work in the private sector, but they work for a lot less money.”
A single payer system would replace the state’s patchwork of nonprofit and private insurers with a single, public insurer through which all health care dollars would flow to hospitals, doctors and other health care providers. Supporters say it would eliminate administrative waste and ensure that all residents receive adequate coverage.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
From Massachusetts we get this endorsement of single payer health care from a guy who should know: