Letter to the Editor Printed in Chicago Tribune

To the Editor:

Has the Supreme Court abandoned consumers? Some might come to that conclusion after reading recent editorial page opinions that employed the scare tactics of “rationing” based on the assumption that you cannot effectively provide patient care without arbitrarily denying necessary care.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Good managed care uses physician incentives to promote innovation that results in better care and outcomes. Affordable care happens when health plans partner with physicians to focus on the highest standards of quality care and service. For example, creating programs for asthmatic children that keep them out of the hospital reduces cost by improving quality — and not leaving the children wheezing on the emergency room steps. This pathway to affordable healthcare does not rely on discounting physician charges or rationing care. Rather, it establishes industrial strength system controls that support physician practices and their patients.

Plans that excel in providing needed acute and chronic care (not just preventive services) do so by fostering physician collaboration that examines the best treatments among those available for specific patient conditions and circumstances. An evidence-based protocol to eliminate the estimated 16 percent of inappropriate hysterectomies improves care for thousands of women. These and other protocols address the significant inefficiencies and waste in the system and are a far cry from the rationing of services.

“Rationing” scare tactics aside, good managed care continues to provide all of the care that is needed and only the care that is needed.

Sincerely,
Daniel B. Wolfson
President and CEO
Alliance of Community Health Plans