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