I am writing in response to the letter by Alan Zwerner, M.D. (Sept. 13, p. 45), which I found to be extremely disappointing concerning the "facts" of healthcare.
Zwerner discusses the need for "responsible oversight," but who would provide this service? Government bureaucrats, insurance companies or physicians no longer practicing but reviewing cases full time? What other profession is subject to this sort of mandatory oversight?
Even worse, Zwerner states that because resources are limited, patient care must be rationed. "Our resources are substantial but not infinite. Rational utilization is reasonable and necessary," he writes. This directly contradicts the oath every physician has sworn to uphold. Healthcare should be rationed only by an individual patient, presuming he or she is aware of the consequences.
Of note, maintaining patient autonomy is prudent economically. Allowing patients greater control of their care, including a genuine financial stake in the services they receive, would induce wiser spending and make the entire system more efficient. This is certainly true of every other necessity of life, such as food, clothing and shelter. People have demonstrated a willingness to spend their own money on well-being, as reflected by the "alternative medicine" market, a rapidly growing multibillion-dollar industry. Government involvement remains limited, yet no one is clamoring for price controls or service reductions within that market.
It's terribly sad to see the best medical care in the world come under attack because of excessive costs created by distorted economic incentives. Let's develop our healthcare system to increase patient choice, not restrict it by additional government decrees and regulations.
Ned Radich, M.D.