Stop surprise medical bills; support Medicare for All

Reprinted from the Courier-Journal – 06/30/2019


Dr. Crouch should support Medicare for all

Dr. Robert Crouch proposes “Stop Surprise Medical Bills” legislation to shield patients from bills for out-of-network health care. (“Surprise Medical Bills Must Stop” June 22, 2019)

Christine Perlin-Gump at a rally for health care in the Capitol Building in Frankfort
Christine Perlin-Gump at a rally for health care in the Capitol Building in Frankfort

We should recall that the concept of in- network and out-of-network is a creation of the for profit health insurance industry. I disagree with Dr. Crouch when he says he cannot control surprise billing of his patients. As an officer of the Kentucky Medical Association, he can take a look across the border to our

Canadian neighbors, find out about their health care system, and advocate that the United States adopt an improved medicare for all, which completely eliminates private health insurance companies from essential services. Every penny of our healthcare dollar should go to providers, not to corporate middlemen who have so successfully interposed themselves between physician and patient in this country.

Corporations exist to provide dividends to shareholders, with hundreds of intelligent employees coming up with new schemes, such as networks, to do just that. One is just playing whack-a-mole by coming up with a piece of legislation that may limit a particular type of corporate outrage.

Of course, a patient going through a health crisis is in no position to know the contractual arrangements between the person giving them an anesthetic, the insurance company and the hospital, and is probably too weak to complain when he spends the years of convalescence dealing with hospital bills, collection agencies and foreclosure. Less deserving of sympathy are the “hospitals and physicians (who) have become overwhelmed”, trying to keep up with the shifting requirements of health care corporations. Some pain, yes, but ‘let the free market sort this all out.

We have tried that, in an increasingly complex system that costs us twice as much as nations with national health programs, programs which cover everyone, and do not leave tens of millions un – or under insured as in this country. To advocate for his patients, Dr. Crouch should support improved Medicare for all.

Christine Perlin-Gump

Louisville, 40205