Letter: Sundin hit the bull’s-eye on health care
Hal Sundin hit the bull’s-eye in “The sorry state of health care in the U.S.” He blamed the high cost of health care on the “mob of leeches sucking the lifeblood out of the system,” including insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, equipment manufacturers, hospitals, and of course, malpractice lawyers. I couldn’t agree more.
But I must admit there is another group that shares some of the blame — my fellow physicians. You see, when the costs of running a medical practice increase every year, while reimbursements for medical and surgical services get cut by federal and private insurance programs, doctors are forced to search for alternate revenue streams. That’s why large group practices own labs, imaging facilities, surgery centers, and radiation treatment departments. Ownership of these investments leads to the temptation to order extra tests, and to recommend treatments based partly on the highest reimbursement.
Simply put, by not paying a fair wage for a fair day’s work, the Feds (Medicare and Medicaid) have forced doctors into a conflict of interest to keep their practices afloat.
Mr. Sundin called Obamacare a “monstrosity”. Again, I agree. It does nothing to crush the “mob of leeches.” It encourages private companies to cut employee hours and to drop their insurance benefits, while it enlarges one of the worst programs the Feds ever created: Medicaid. This “insurance” pays doctors and hospitals the lowest rates (about 10 cents for every dollar billed) while simultaneously costing taxpayers more per patient than any other plan. Why? Because the patients use so many services. After all, if you don’t have to pay a penny, why not go to the E.R. for every sniffle and sore throat?
Our system needs an overhaul. Other nations have more efficient health care delivery models, with better outcomes. Maybe Ms. Pelosi should have encouraged her fellow Democrats in the House to actually do a little homework prior to casting their votes.
Jeff Fegan, M.D.
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