Healthcare is already rationed in the U.S.—it's controlled either by one's finances or, more often, by one's insurer ["Commentary: Health Reform, An Assault on Doctor-Patient Choice," usnews.com]. Rationing via wealth will not change. Out-of-network providers aren't going away—the wealthy will still be able to obtain private healthcare. However, this administration does have an opportunity to provide access to folks who now have none, and perhaps to return doctor-patient choice to the doctor and the patient. For most folks, the current reality is that healthcare control rests with one's insurer. Compared to all other 'developed' nations, the United States is alone in this regard.
Comment by Richard of MA
The public plan does not restrict doctor patient choice. This plan, like every other private or public insurance plan, limits payment for medical services. Payment for unlimited medical care would make any plan unaffordable. [Bernadine Healy asks] "Why should such a fundamental right to choice, won 40 years ago, be singled out, one might ask?" The government does not subsidize most of our fundamental rights. Should the government subsidize gun purchases because Americans have a right to own a gun? Supporters of abortion rights have the right to subsidize abortion provided by non-governmental organizations.
Comment by Michael of GA
What do you think is going to happen when the government is paying the bill? The government will decide for you what it will pay for. You can still get that mammogram before age 50, you will just have to pay for it. It the government decides a procedure is not "cost effective" too bad for you. And for those of you who already have health insurance, you can keep it; just expect to pay more for the same level of coverage. Wow what a deal.
Comment by Jon McDonald of NV
This article presents no factual evidence that breast and prostate cancer testing would be curtailed under a single payer plan, only vague fearful innuendo. If a government single payer plan restricts testing, it will therefore cost less in taxes and fees. An individual can then still choose to buy additional testing or buy insurance for such testing. (That is if you are not excluded from it by the private companies.) All studies show that the overall cost of single payer plus supplements will be far less than the current system. A single payer system alters how premiums are collected and how bills are paid out, yielding a reduction in costs. Doctor's actions are not controlled nor does it eliminate access to tests and procedures. You will still be able to buy them as you can now...just without paying for executive bonuses, shareholder profits, and the underwriting/denial bureaucracy on the bulk of your healthcare.
Comment by Fred of CO
The patient's loss of choice and rights begin whenever I go to see a doctor. The amount of forms I am forced to sign (while sick and especially going into surgery) to protect the doctors are outrageous. The American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines do not allow for patients to easily price shop or doctors to advertise price. Americans pay the most for healthcare in the world. The entire non-competitive, special interest authored, for profit, health system needs to be discarded. The greed is so high that the majority of medical students want to become specialists to earn $500,000+ and not accept traditional insurance as full payment. How sad it has become when the patient is primarily seen as just a source used to maximize profit.
Comment by Dave Pace of OH