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Letter: We’re No. 37!

In his column (“Unions have the upper hand,” Sunday Monitor Viewpoints, July 7) Grant Bosse answers a question that has puzzled me for a long time: Why do we spend more than any other nation for health care and still come in dead last when compared to the 17 other major industrial democracies? (We are not even 17th; we are 37th, behind Costa Rica).

Decrying the collective bargaining process for public employee health benefits, Bosse explains: “Taxpayers are on the hook for almost every dollar, since employees pay no deductibles and nominal co-pays. This provides little incentive for workers to limit their consumption of medical services.”

Incentives to limit consumption are a good idea for cigarettes; for medical services, not so much.

Every other country with half a brain is operating on the idea that if it is convenient and affordable to “consume” medical services, the entire country will benefit. We are making insurance companies and hospitals rich and getting less for our money than Costa Rica.

There are at least 36 better ways for us to run things, and none of them appear to involve financial incentives to limit “consumption.”

Maybe if we let go of this one stupid idea we can claw our way up to 35th or, who knows maybe even someday 25th, right behind Cyprus.



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