THE DEC. 31 editorial “Tiered coverage, SaveOn plans can boost cost-conscious care’’ espouses tweaks to our failing health care system that won’t change the cost curve but would make it more complicated for patients to obtain medical services. Tiered coverage limits choice for patients who may prefer doctors or hospitals outside their network, and unfairly penalizes patients who can’t afford extra fees to go to providers of their choice. The SaveOn initiative that pays patients to go to less expensive service facilities, even though their doctor may not recommend them, strains the important doctor-patient relationship and raises doubt about the quality of cheaper services.
The real solution to the health care crisis should be focused on eliminating the huge administrative waste generated by the health insurance industry, the unacceptable number of uninsured, the growing number of underinsured, and the Rube-Goldberg-like systemic complexity that makes patients fall through the cracks.
Patients should be the center of a strong health care system that makes high-quality health care available to everyone regardless of ability to pay. We need a single payer system that covers everyone, provides continuous care, and is affordable and sustainable.
Dr. Patricia Downs Berger