Costs up, not care

By Thomas R. Kluzak, M.D.
Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, Letters, Jan. 17, 2015

The article about a lawsuit filed by a physician against a hospital was interesting but sad (“Co-founding physician suing Kansas spine hospital,” Jan. 14 Business Today).

Both are well-respected and undoubtedly provide good care; the merits of the case will focus on their business relationship. However the claim of a $15 million loss is embarrassing to many physicians who will not come close to earning that much over a lifetime of practice.

It is clear that a for-profit system raises costs and does not improve care. Additional examples abound, including a drug to treat cystic fibrosis patients that costs $300,000 per year – justified by the pharmaceutical company based on its benefits, not the cost of development or manufacturing. Following this logic, the surgeon who operates on you for acute appendicitis might claim half of your future earnings for saving your life.

As a society, why do we tolerate profits made off of sick people? Isn’t it time we took a serious look at a single-payer system as advocated by Physicians for a National Health Program? Reasonable compensation should be provided to drugmakers, manufacturers and providers, rather than huge profits to stockholders that needlessly increase the cost of health care.

Dr. Thomas R. Kluzak resides in Wichita.