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Letter: Doctor’s ‘answer’ is no answer to health-care mess

Dr. Paul DeGregorio defines insurance as “the equitable transfer of the risk . . . in exchange for payment,” then dismisses Medicaid as not insurance, railing against the inequity he finds in “this charitable entitlement program” (“Medicaid can’t be called ‘insurance’,” Monitor Opinion page, July 1). He concludes by asserting that “The short answer on the proposed expansion of Medicaid: Call it Medicaid, call it federal or state subsidized health care plan, call it Plan Q., or call it pumpkin seeds. Whatever the name, it still pays providers too little to be called insurance.”

Exactly what kind of “answer” does DeGregorio want us to believe he has provided? Calling names has never provided an answer to any disagreement I know of.

Does DeGregorio think the problem of inadequate health care which so embarrasses our country will just go away if providers refuse to see patients who can’t afford care at the prices they charge?

He challenges us “to find examples when a consolidation of industry resulted in more choices, better quality, better service and reduced price.” Here are a few such examples for the good doctor: the health care systems of Ireland, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, Canada, Germany and other countries offering universal health care. Or check out the June 30 article in the New York Times comparing the cost – and quality – of maternity care here and elsewhere.

Maybe in another piece, DeGregorio will provide a substantive answer to this country’s health care difficulties – which started about the time that we shifted from “health care” to “health insurance,” dooming ourselves to a business model, rather than humanitarian one.

CHIP MORGAN

Alexandria

Those other countries ("Ireland, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, Canada, Germany") are not poster children for health care, in fact, in Canada there are often year long waits to treat breast cancer, prostate cancer, etc. Because everyone is treated the same, rationing and wait times are extended. Let me give you an example. A hernia might be able to wait 9 months, uterine cancer can't wait 9 months. Supporters of universal health care tell us that it would be better and "cheaper" because people now using the emergency room for their primary care are subsidized by the rest of us. If that was true, at all, then why are premiums, deductibles and co-pays doubling under Obamacare? The short answer is that the 15% without insurance will now be ahead of those who have always fended for themselves. Single payer is not affordable. Noticeably missing on the list of countries was Great Britain where single payer is failing miserably and Sweden where they are getting away from single payer as it is just not economically feasible. Unfortunately, the Doctor was right, it is unpopular what he wrote but he is right.

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