2008-03-07 / Letters

Be Wary Of Pols Talking About Health Care

Dear Editor,

After reading the two installments of the Deputy Mayor's testimony regarding the proposed combination of GHI and HIP to form Emblem Health, I am impelled to make a few comments. Mainly, one can note that other than a statement about the unaffordablility (in terms of the city's contribution to premiums), there was no discussion about the quality of care to be provided and the possible good, if any, to the actual healthcare of the city's residents. When I learned of the possible merger a few months ago, I thought, in my naiveté, that better products might be offered and, I might get better coverage. I still don't know the answer to that one.

People have to be wary about politicians talking about healthcare. Usually the pols are talking only about finance management. The actual delivery of healthcare is something rarely discussed other than in a few medical journals (The New England J. of Med. Specials/perspective essays and bioethics journals) where it is a hot topic.

We should not be afraid of terms like universal healthcare, single-payer and rationing. We have examples of these things (except universal care) in society now, for example, the VA system, Medicare, SHIP which works. Also, evidence-based medicine, which is considered the scientific way to practice medicine, is for many, another form of rationing. We can look to systems in other countries

Letters for examples of good healthcare, manifested by statistics, which show the non-system we have to be failure.

Healthcare delivery is different from any other business. It is not just selling widgets. This country can manage its cost, especially if the incredible profit motive is taken out of it.

ERNEST HOROWITZ. MD, MS (BIOETHICS) FORMER CHIEF LIFEGUARD

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