By Jay V. Solnick, M.D.
The New York Times, Letters, May 13, 2017
Marc K. Siegel argues that since 5 percent of Americans generate more than 50 percent of health care expenses, they should also pay more. He gives us the gratuitous example of his patient with seasonal allergies who comes to see him unnecessarily every few weeks.
This is absurd. Most of us understand that the reason so few account for so much of our health care costs is not because they enjoy visits to their doctor; it is because they are sick. They are mostly elderly. They have cancer, heart disease or any number of other afflictions that visit us as we age.
It’s really pretty simple: We must each pay into a pool so that if and when our number is called, health care is available. This could come in the form of a plan like the besieged Affordable Care Act, or, better yet, national health insurance like that found in virtually every other developed country, where health care is usually better and always much cheaper.
The writer is an infectious diseases doctor and a professor at the Center for Comparative Medicine, University of California, Davis.