Letters to the Editor


Letter to the editor of the Oregonian by a Portland Physician
Leigh C. Dolin

We have the best health care in the world! We don’t let big government tell us what to do, and we give maximum opportunity for individual initiative to prove itself. Isn’t it time to expand the lessons learned from providing health care to other basic services?

Let’s privatize police departments! Why should we let big government tell us how our laws should be enforced? From now on, police services will be run by competing private businesses. Competition will provide better and more efficient results, as we have proved in our health care system. Employers will include police benefits as part of their fringe benefits, with moderate deductibles to discourage workers from calling the police unnecessarily.

Police insurance companies will use the same principles that have been used so successfully in health care. They will target their marketing to those least in need of police services and actively discourage those covered from using police departments. As with health care, those who can afford additional coverage will be allowed to get it — the more they pay, the more they’ll get.

Basic coverage for the elderly and disabled will be available under “Protecticare,” a government-sponsored program. This will allow for police to be summoned for assaults in progress and to assist in murder investigations. For those individuals wanting help with lesser crimes such as burglaries and arson, this will be available for additional payments by private “Protectigap” insurance policies.

Of course, this new approach will leave a large group of citizens not covered by any of these programs. For these people, who have proved their inability to compete in our free-enterprise system, gun laws will be loosened so they can protect themselves as necessary. While this may necessitate their being relocated to restricted areas, so as not to endanger their neighbors who have adequate police insurance, this should not be an insurmountable problem.

We have the health care system we want, and we have repeatedly resisted efforts to change it. Let’s get started proving that other basic services can be provided in the same profitable way that we provide health care.

If we can make money delivering health care, why can’t we do the same providing police protection?

Dr. Leigh C. Dolin is a practicing internist in Portland and a former president of the Oregon Medical Association.