Reader’s View: Single-payer can cut racial disparity in health care

While the state of Minnesota long has been known for its innovative approaches to health care policy and practice, even our best efforts to improve the delivery and quality of care have fallen short in recent years when it comes to reducing racial health disparities and ensuring affordable access to care for all residents.

Making the change to a single-payer system would bridge these gaps by reducing costs to consumers and insurers alike and by helping to eliminate racial disparities, basing care on need rather than ability to pay.

According to a preliminary study by the Lewin Group, a single-payer health care system could provide statewide savings of $189.5 billion over 10 years. These savings largely would come from drastically reducing administrative waste related to the private health insurance industry and from using the single-payer system’s leverage to negotiate prescription drug prices down to a fraction of their current cost.

Currently, minorities and families in poverty have reduced levels of private health insurance coverage. A single-payer system would alleviate this disparity by providing equitable coverage for all Minnesotans, regardless of race, employment status, or income level.

Furthermore, moving to a single-payer system would send the indisputable message that health care is a human right rather than an optional commodity or even a luxury.

While a single-payer health care system certainly will not fix all of Minnesota’s health, racial, or social inequities, it is clearly a step in that direction.

Let your voice be heard by calling your representatives today. Say you support moving Minnesota to a single-payer system for the benefit of all.

Adrienne Dinneen

Saginaw

This letter was submitted also by Deanne Roquet of Duluth, Karl Olson of Duluth, Amy Brooks of Duluth, Erin Dinneen of Duluth, and Julias Salinas of Esko.

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