Letter: Better, and cheaper, health plan

The proposal from state Sen. Jim Ferlo (D., Allegheny) for a single-payer health plan offering comprehensive coverage to all Pennsylvanians would have a transformative effect on our health-care system, with immediate short- and long-term savings to individuals and businesses, improved access to care, and the potential to attract new businesses to the state.

Obamacare has achieved modest expansions in access to care and reducing discrimination in coverage by insurance providers, but fails to address major issues like the incredible administrative costs associated with multiple insurance providers, as well as the exorbitant financial burden of purchasing health insurance for employers and families.

Ferlo's plan would eliminate the need to purchase health insurance and would cover all medically necessary services, including inpatient and outpatient care, eye care, mental health services, physical and occupational therapy, and home care.

How is this feasible? The Ferlo plan would be financed by a 10 percent payroll tax on businesses and a three percent individual income tax to cover state spending. Make no mistake: this saves money for the vast majority of people and businesses in the state, since current health insurance costs for businesses exceed 13 percent of payroll on average. This move also could make Pennsylvania an extremely attractive for individuals and companies looking to set up new businesses.

Maziar Shirazi, M.D., member, Healthcare4AllPA, Philadelphia