2016-02-16 / Opinion

Thorpe Health Care Analysis Flawed

The Associated Press article containing a “ fact check” on health care quoted an analysis by Emory University economist Kenneth Thorpe “suggesting” that “the accounting comes up short”. The so- called “ facts” in that analysis are actually based on a number of incorrect assumptions, distortions and missing data.

Doctors David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, both noted clinicians and researchers from Harvard Medical School and City University of New York School of Public Health have since refuted Thorpe’s analysis. They note that Thorpe’s analysis underestimates administrative savings, suggests an unlikely increase in health care utilization, doesn’t mention the huge tax subsidies currently filling the coffers of private insurance companies, and ignores the savings on drugs and medical devices realized by other countries with single-payer health care, all leading Thorpe to make the inaccurate claim that single payer health care would be too costly. University of Massachusetts economist Gerald Friedman also concluded that Thorpe’s analysis is “deeply flawed.”

It is unfortunate that the many benefits of a single payer health care system are being ignored in all of the clamor of election politics. There is only one truth and that is that a well designed single payer system would bring comprehensive health care to everyone, while removing financial barriers to care and making our national health expenditures sustainable well into the future.

If you’re interested in learning how a comprehensive universal plan would benefit both our health and our economy, I invite you to attend a free public screening of the documentary, “Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point.” The film was produced by a Pennsylvania businessman who faced relentless annual cost increases to provide health insurance for his employees. He decided to tackle the problem by doing an in-depth analysis and then determining the fix. The film will be shown on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. at the Curtis Memorial Library. For more information, contact me at info@maineallcare.org.

Julie Keller Pease,

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