Louise Kertesz eloquently rebuts the insidious charge frequently made against capitation-that somehow it tempts doctors to deny necessary care ("Root of all evil?" March 17, p. 25).
Foes of capitation inject fear into their argument in order to protect the status quo and maintain a preference for fee-for-service medicine. The inference is that physicians are easily corrupted or that they put their own comfort ahead of the health of their patients. If there is any truth in that reference, then, as Kertesz suggested, perhaps it also contributed to "the skyrocketing medical costs that gave rise to managed care."
The thoughtful essay did more than deflect an untrue charge against managed care; it did physicians everywhere a great favor. It reminded us that most doctors, on both sides of the managed-care fence, are like all professionals-proud, ethical and practical people who love their work.
JAMES O. HILLMAN
Chief operating officer
American Medical Group Association
Seal Beach, Calif.