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Cashing in your health

Published February 13, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

This statement by Gov. Gary Herbert fails to grasp the dynamics of health care: "If you want the most benefit, and the highest quality for the most people at the lowest cost, that happens [with] free market competition."

Health is not a commodity. Access to health care is a right. No one should profit from people's health.

On the profit-driven pendulum of health care, the following happens: If you are the insurer, you maximize profits by restricting care, raising premiums and limiting payment to providers.

If you are the provider, you maximize profits by increasing procedures, shortening patient visits and increasing the number of patients seen. Patients become reduced to income sources.

The patient treads the tightrope between these two forces.

The answer lies in countries whose approach is very different to ours — Canada, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand. They remove profit from the equation. They salary doctors who work within a single-payer system, regulated by a nonprofit group.

This has reduced health care costs, provided health care to all and proved satisfying to both patients and health care providers. A far cry from our persistent beliefs that free-market forces are the solution to our health care problems.

Chris Lang, M.D.

Salt Lake City

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