A line in the article about the New Jersey Association of Health Plans' filing suit against the state to reverse a law forcing HMOs to pay for failed plans (July 3, p. 10) says the law amounts to an "unconstitutional taking of property."
I have long been curious why some physician or medical group has not filed suit against the state or federal government for this same reason. When physicians are legally compelled to take care of patients through their emergency department responsibilities, is that not also an unconstitutional taking of property if the patient cannot pay?
No other industry or profession faces similar requirements. Prisoners are afforded legal counsel, but that counsel is paid for. When people go to the grocer, they pay for a dollar's worth of food with a dollar's value in food stamps. The construction industry is not required to provide homes for the homeless. A person's skill and profession is his or her property, and when it is taken without compensation, it appears to me to fall into the same category as described in the lawsuit in New Jersey.
After 34 years in this business, it still amazes me that the problem of the uninsured remains unresolved and, in fact, is growing. I would urge one of the medical groups to take this issue on as a matter not only of constitutional importance but of fairness.
Chief executive officer
Kaweah Delta Health Care District