Cherry-pick­ing pa­tients? What about some other in­dus­try prac­tices?

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the re­cent ar­ti­cle “Cher­ryp­ick­ing pa­tients? Mayo Clinic aims to ‘pri­or­i­tize’ pri­vately in­sured” (March 20, p. 10), such trans­parency of the eco- nomic re­al­i­ties of health­care should not be shunned, but en­cour­aged. Where were the ethi­cists over the past decades con­cern­ing other in­dus­try prac­tices?

Con­sider: When hos­pi­tals have cost-shifted onto the com­mer­cially in­sured their losses from Medi­care/Med­i­caid; what­ever com­mer­cial in­sur­ance did not cover un­der a deeply dis­counted re­la­tion­ship, the hos­pi­tal bal­ance-billed the pa­tient at the non-dis­count, full re­tail, rack rate; just in the Chicago re­gion alone, how for­mer fac­tory towns lost their hos­pi­tals when they moved to greener fields based on their de­mo­graph­ics of a highly ed­u­cated, well-in­sured, young, healthy and white catch­ment area; the waste of as­sets and tax­payer money by du­pli­cat­ing fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices to cher­ryp­ick the bet­ter-in­sured pop­u­la­tion; ra­tioning of drugs due to the ex­ces­sive pric­ing for pa­tients and their drug plan for­mu­la­ries; and the ex­tent of Medi­care fraud and abuse as a growth in­dus­try tol­er­ated by pro­fes­sional peers, hos­pi­tals and our law­mak­ers.

M.E. Singer Chicago

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