To the Editor:
I was taken aback by the extraordinarily disingenuous op-ed by Matt Collins, "Avoiding Low-value care," where representing BC/BS he suggests patients navigate the health system and decide what is good care or low-value care by asking questions of their caregivers. Really?
If I want to buy bananas, I know that they are 49 cents a pound, can weigh them and see what it will cost me. But if the medical system (see parentheses) was running Dave's Marketplace, they would have a range of prices, say from 19 cents to $100 a pound. Same bananas. If I bought a lot of bananas (a large employer or institution) and it was in my neighborhood (in-network) I get them at $.19/lb. And if just an individual (uninsured) and not in my neighborhood (out of network), those bananas are $100/lb. Worse, I don't get to know until after I buy
them and eat them.
If Dr. Collins wants to help, why doesn't BC/BS publish all the prices they pay for bananas, by store (hospital) and neighborhood (network)? And further, require everyone who sells bananas (provides healthcare) publish the prices they charge? Plenty of other countries have private health care and no surprise bills. The bananas are $.49/lb. everywhere, no matter who you are and where you buy them. Buying health care can be as simple as buying bananas. It's time for all of us, healthy and ill, to demand simplicity.
Sean Hagberg, PhD