Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Beyond Walter Reed - letter to Congress

As I read the stories about decay overtaking Walter Reed hospital, it seems to me that the health care delivery system that America needs - for both civilians and military patients - is a single-payer system that leaves no one out.

The layers of complexity revealed in the military hospital breakdown - the outsourcing, the multiple branches of the service and their varying requirements for record keeping, communication, and payment - it boggles the mind. But listen to average Americans trying to sort out their Medicare benefits, or choose between competing insurance plans. It all adds up to the same thing: patients must come first. Not profits, not competing insurance carriers, not paperwork. Patients must come first.

Other countries have figured this out and America can too. There is no excuse for our country - which should be a shining example of best practices - to be lagging behind other countries in our care of military and civilian patients, or in our coverage of all those who shelter in our borders. Compassion and common decency require this of us, and we can rise to answer this call.

Gail Murray