Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Managers, Bureaucrats Would Be in Charge

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Managers, Bureaucrats Would Be in Charge

Article excerpt

The nationwide debate on health care has arisen from the frustrations and economic fears of the American public. The current system has become less responsive to the needs of the health-care consumer. More and more, decisions on access to health care and its cost are taken out of the hands of the individual and are being made by faceless bureaucracies. Patients are paying more for less. Many go without health care altogether.

Some health-care proposals promise universal access through "managed competition" or, at the state level, "integrated service networks." These systems have two major flaws.

First, such systems limit individual choice. These networks would limit health-insurance options to fewer, larger managed-care conglomerates. The choice of which network an individual might join would be made, in many instances, by the insurance payer - that is, an employer - or, in the case of the uninsured, by the government. Decisions on medical tests and treatment would be taken away from patients and their physicians and would be made by managers.

These plans are not more responsive to the needs of patients. They are systems that will impose limited resources for medical evaluation and treatment upon patients and their physicians.

The second major problem with these proposed systems is cost. The promise that fewer, larger, more centralized insurance entities will be more economical in providing the same quality of care has never been proved.

If the people decide that the current cost of high-quality care is too high, then all of us must decide how best to limit the use of expensive medical technologies. Our success at developing, producing and making available new methods of diagnosis and treatment is the fundamental driving force for the rising costs of health care. True cost reform will require some form of rationed care. …

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