Letters to the editor for Friday, April 14, 2017
Thoughts on healthcare blame game
How easy it is to blame my computer when something goes wrong serves only to show how risky it is to play the blame game. Dr. Sean Lehmann’s column in the April 9 Appeal decrying for-profit insurance suffers from this problem.
It wasn’t that long ago that there was a mixed and thriving health insurance market in California.
Kaiser, and the “Blues” (Blue Cross and Blue Shield) were, his favorite, not-for-profit firms. They competed on a level playing field with the likes of Bankers Life of Iowa, The Guardian, New York Life, Aetna, Lincoln National Life, and The Hartford, among others. Yes, the for-profit firms had higher premiums, but profit was not their sole driving motive. They generally offered their money’s worth in terms of more responsive service, better access to care, and better benefits.
The prevalence of employer provided benefits, fostered by government, planted the seed for today’s problems. It is an unhealthy situation where one party, the employer or the union, pays for the insurance, and a second party, the insured employee or his or her dependents, reaps the benefits. It took only a certain amount of improvement in healthcare for costs to run wild and provoke a series of not-so-successful containment measures which today trouble Dr. Lehmann.
All these would go away once the beneficiaries were burdened with the costs. We have no use for a one-size-fits-all, non-performing, government-run plan.