Letter: Continuing the health care discussion

By on October 22, 2009

To Bob Morgan: Your response to my letter is mostly very heartening, and I want to commend you for taking the time and interest to involve yourself in this important issue.

Second, while the general tone of your letter is contemptuous, I find there to be an impressive amount of agreement. We share a passion for the issue. You state that “too many politicians are for sale,” “I think we can all agree that pharmaceutical companies gouge us all,” and then you offer a lot of good tactics for dealing with the problem.

Some of your arguments are circular and conflicting. You love one doctor and trust them all, but you think some other guy is so evil he killed your friend, and this is a rationale for huge court payments instead of tighter regulatory oversight.

Pharma is trying to help us out, but they are also gouging us. Maybe they are helping us by gouging us. Obama inflated the uninsured estimate of 30 million, because you find there to be 250 million insured. Excuse me, as the population of the USA is 305 million, that implies there are 80 million uninsured. I think the correct answer is around 40, but I really think this is not the issue.

You would like to pay doctors based on their value. That’s not the way free enterprise is supposed to work. Pricing is suppose to stabilize near cost. The value for saving a life is infinite, and that is the problem. Where the burden of payment is shifted from the demand, the demand is infinite.

You have some misguided notion that CHIPs is representative of government insured healthcare. Actually, “Medicare” and “Medicaid” are the case for government healthcare. And, by the way, I am intimately familiar with CHIPs. My wife had a urinary infection. She took a simple antibiotic and was well in a few weeks, but the exercise made your favored Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) unwilling to cover her at any cost. So she joined the involuntary ranks of the uninsured until I could buy CHIPs coverage for her.

BCBS wrote that policy too; it cost me something like $900 per month, for $5,000 deductible and covered nothing. The key point about CHIPs is that by definition the insured parties are uninsurable otherwise, that is they are specifically not representative of the general population as a whole. So the CHIPs program is hardly a case model for a general healthcare plan run by government.

Jeff MacKenzie

One Comment

  1. RM

    October 22, 2009 at 9:08 PM

    Most of what you have written makes absolutely no sense and has little to do with what I wrote. You refer to my letter as circular and conflicting. Yours is from the planet of confused and disoriented. “Love one doctor and trust them all?” That makes no rational sense and doesn’t remotely relate to what I wrote. Pharma is out to make money period. Selling a generic that cost $5 to produce for $90 – do you think that’s reasonable? That’s the reality of free enterprise along with multi-million dollar payouts to insurance CEOs and denials for the insured. I think doctors should be fairly paid for their time, education and experience. That’s the value – not your reference to the infinite value of a life. One has nothing to do with the other except when a doctor is sued by someone who thinks they are owed infinite compensation for an error. Nothing in my letter said CHIPS is representative of government insured healthcare. I too am well aware of the joys of being uninsured or underinsured. I never represented CHIPS as a model plan but you have to admit that it has been a help to many with no other options.