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home : opinion : opinion

12/11/2013 2:58:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Letters to the Editor
Socialized Medicine

 My Mirror arrived in the mail yesterday and I read your editorial about "Socialized Medicine". I've been a vendor to medical facilities and provider to patients since 1978 and can comment with some familiarity on this topic.

When you and I were in the military decades ago we experienced "Socialized Medicine" in the true definition of the term. All the personnel that treated us were government employees. All the facilities in which they worked were owned and operated by our government. Seemed to work OK.

Medicare and the Affordable Care Act do not fit the definition of Socialized Medicine.

No Medicare employee sees patients. Medicare owns no medical facilities. Medicare is a third party payer to both the private and public sector on behalf of patients...just as private insurance companies do for patients both under and over 65 years of age.

Likewise, the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare is a third party payer to both the private and public sectors. Obamacare employs no clinicians and owns no medical facilities. Obamacare doesn't cover patients until 2014 and is not the problem with Brewster Hospital.

Medicare requires their medical providers reveal their costs. Medicare sets reimbursement rates to medical providers based on a cost plus a profit margin similar to what our government does with many of our military suppliers of weapons, aircraft and ships. The military-industrial complex seems to be doing just fine.

TIME magazine published a ground breaking full issue story last February on the topic of medical costs in the US. I am a print subscriber.

You can download the article from their website. It is 28 pages but worth the read. Since this article I've encountered not only other publications asking hospitals for their Chargemasters but for selected Congress members referring to it. Indeed, I first learned about the hospital Chargemaster when I read this article even after doing business with hospitals all these years, even with their CFOs.

In my opinion, problem exists where medical professionals and facilities profess to require more profit than either Medicare or private insurance carriers want to pay. Or they have an insufficient patient load to justify their overhead which is an entirely different problem ...lack of customers.

Best regards and Merry Christmas,

Gregg Taylor

Mercer Island

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