Single-payer would be costly, damaging

Of all the solutions that might be implemented to help more Americans obtain and afford health care, we cannot understand the drive by some on the left for a single-payer system. Columnist John Stossel, on this page, offers a rundown of the issues surrounding single-payer and its flaws. There are many.

This topic has growing relevance in light of the Democratic takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives and the political push on the left to “do something” about health care. While we agree that medical costs have become astounding and that the medical industry is almost daring politicians to step in, any solutions have to make sense in the long run. Single-payer does not.

At its core, single-payer really is more about a political agenda — socialism — than about a solution. Politicians like Bernie Sanders rant and rave against high costs and insurers, but fall silent when they are asked to explain the jaw-dropping costs of single-payer ($32 trillion over 10 years, by one estimate) and how it would be funded (by new taxes, of course).

If you look at the current health care “system” in the United States, there are private insurers and providers but also a myriad of government insurance plans to help the elderly and the poor. In a state like Minnesota, more than 90 percent of the people are insured in some way, and everyone can get the care they need in an emergency.

If those on the left want to help tackle the high costs of medical care, we’re sure those in the middle and on the right would be happy to talk about market-driven solutions. But single-payer should be a non-starter. It is a costly, false promise.