Letter to the Editor

Turn patients into consumers

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

To the editor:

The problem with health care is not the high cost of medical liability insurance. It is that people do not pay for their own medical treatment. Economics 101 dictates that a merchant cannot charge more than what the consumer is willing to pay. The problem is that health-care prices are not dictated by market forces. Doctors, lawyers, insurance companies and politicians have created this enormous cash-cow depository of insurance premiums and tax dollars. If a person cannot afford a high health care premium or does not qualify for government assistance, he is still forced to compete with the artificially inflated prices.

I do not want government to step in and provide health insurance for everyone. Let everyone pay for their own health care straight from their own pockets. No insurance. No Medicare. No Medicaid. That would place the purchasing power back where it belongs: in the hands of the consumer. No longer would patients be forced to pay $75 for an office visit, which is what doctors charge patients for walking into their office. Would you pay a shoe store $50 for the privilege of shopping at a particular shoe store?

No longer would patients be forced to consent to treatment without knowing ahead of time what a particular procedure will cost. No longer would a patient be charged $12 for a single Tylenol tablet.

It's time that the America consumer be as conscientious with their health care dollars as they would their grocery money.

BILL FOSTER

Cape Girardeau