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For health care costs to go down someone's income has to do same

  • Published in Letters
To the editor,
As regular readers know, this newspaper publishes letters and opinions from across the political spectrum, and has been host to some vociferously different views. I believe, however, that we all might agree on the idea that it would be a highly desirable thing if the costs of health care were to come down. But we should realize that every dollar decrease in health care costs means that someone, somewhere in the health care universe loses a dollar of income. That's not a political opinion; it's a mathematical necessity. Someone takes a hit — maybe doctors, maybe hospitals, maybe Big Pharma, maybe insurance companies, maybe malpractice attorneys. Talking about lower health care costs gets universal agreement, but lowering health care incomes means someone gets upset.
Example: in Sunday's Washington Post, there is an excellent article about a program in Doylestown, PA, which provides weekly visits by a nurse to elderly patients with chronic diseases. This program has improved patient health and made for a drastic decrease in hospital admissions and total health costs. Hospitals hate it. Medicare (NOT Obamacare) has cut off funding for this program, despite allowances for it and programs like it in current law and under Obamacare. Solving our health care dilemma means making choices about whose income suffers to achieve the savings. I think it is possible for people of differing political philosophies to have a practical discussion about this, but I don't see a lot of it happening yet.
Johan Andersen