2009-07-31 / Letters

The New Health Care Plan

Dear Editor,

Last Sunday's NY Times Magazine featured an article titled "Why We Must Ration Health Care." Oh really? The 10,000 word piece was enormously interesting and instructive… because this is "the plan" Congress and the White House are discussing for our nation's future health needs. The author—a Princeton Professor— says there's a neat formula to decide who gets what medical care. He notes, "The QALY (Quality Adjusted Life Year) tells us to do what brings about the greatest health benefit, Letters irrespective of where that benefit falls." Uh-oh!

Presently, it's wives and husbands— maybe with the boss, the union or association, or maybe with parents, financial planners, trusted friends or clergy—that decide and determine health insurance and care. It's cumbersome, unwieldy, too costly and does not serve all well. Our future, though, if Congress and the White House pass "the plan," will be decided by a government functionary with his/her "QALY" formula.

Of course, here in NYC we already have decades of experience with public health… NYC's Health and Hospitals Corporation. How's that been working out for the last 30 years? How often do you think the guy says to the EMT tech, "No, no, don't take me to LI Jewish, take me to the nearest public hospital."

You want to fill your prescription? Think the post office. Presently, there's the Beach 129 Street pharmacy or maybe the Duane Reade on Beach 116 Street to order and pick up medications and possibly do a little shopping. Soon, maybe, it will be a Federal Drug Dispensary, and it will look more like the local post office than a private for-profit pharmacy (you mean these pharmacies make profits on our medications?!). You know how that will work… you wait on line, get up to the bullet proof window, tell them what you need, take an oath of allegiance to someone or something, and then sit there for who knows how " long. Public care will, ultimately, provide Americans with functional health care.

For the building of automobiles, for instance, a functional process is fine; but for the rebuilding of the human body and for the health, vigor and vitality of 300 million Americans? The Europeans and Canadians have functional care now, but when they want exceptional care, they come to NY, Boston, Cleveland Miami Beach, or Rochester.

Rockaway's Congressmen—Representatives Anthony Weiner and Gregory Meeks—are big believers in "change" and "reform" and "functional health care" for the nation; so, here's my proposal.

Suggest to Representative Weiner at 718-318-9251 or Representative Meeks at 718-327-9791 they test their plan first; that is, roll it out for Federal employees first, you know, to see how it works. First them, then the nation!


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