Letters and Opinion

Markets can rein in health care costs

January 7, 2012

Congratulations to Rob Hillman, Anthem and UnitedHealthcare [Nov. 26] for allowing patients and health care consumers to shop for lower-cost providers within their networks. This is a major step in reforming our ridiculously expensive health care system.

However, opening up the entire marketplace could do more.

The roots of our ridiculously expensive health care system are two politically motivated movements removing consumers from paying their own health care costs. One was union contracts providing first dollar coverage of health expenses. The second was Medicare and Medicaid, which essentially provided first dollar coverage. Consumers became entitled to any care, at any price.

To fix our health care system, we need to give every consumer some “skin in the game” such as medical savings accounts as done in Singapore. We need total transparency of costs for all aspects of care including hospitals, in-patient charges, pharmacies, doctors, therapists and home health care.

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Dr. Francis W. Price Jr.

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