The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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September 17, 2013

Buying health care like buying dinner

My Sept. 8 article addressed Dr. Shores mislabeling the Independent Payment Advisory Board. In his of Sept. 13 article Dr. Shores expanded on the charge of the IPAB, and also addressed the right v. privilege question as it relates to health care.

In his of Sept. 12 letter John Hurd correctly points out “...a hospital can not turn someone away at the ER...”. In an emergency situation a patient is entitled to treatment regardless of ability to pay. That creates a “legal right” for a few under specific circumstances. But to expand on why I contend health care is still a privilege for the rest of us, consider this non-proportional metaphor.

Health care consists of goods and services. A dinner at a favorite restaurant consists of goods and services. If we want the privilege of receiving either, or any goods and services, we must pay for them ourselves or find someone else to pay for them.

I think presently everyone has access to health care. Either through personal financial responsibility, health insurance, or charity. Those in poverty are eligible for Medicaid, which is managed by their state of residence. About 90 percent of Americans have health insurance now. That will probably not increase under the ACA. It might decrease.

Personally I have never “...opposed any health care reform...” To the contrary, I think some reform is necessary. Dr. Shores probably has some “conservative” clients who agree some reform is necessary.

Setting aside ACA issues discussed herein and in previous articles, it seems to me the essential difference between proponents and opponents of the ACA is philosophical, i.e. superfluous federal government involvement.

Bob Jentges

North Mankato

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