Responding to "UPMC Finances Must Remain Strong" (April 3 Perspectives) by Mark Laskow, a managing director of Greycourt investment advisory firm and vice chair of UPMC's board of directors: I would say "nice try." No matter what color you paint that pig, UPMC has never been a nonprofit company. Mr. Laskow talked about the need to remember AHERF. He seems to threaten that if tasked to paying its fair share, UPMC might also fail.
Nice try, but some of us remember. AHERF went down due to poor investments, overreaching its capital growth, bad timing and terrible accounting, not from overcharging everyone, building up a multibillion-dollar war chest and refusing to help an ailing city that has supported it with mass transit and clear roads to get employees to work, pre-educated workers and the ability to take over the third most heavily trafficked urban center in Pennsylvania, Oakland.
Mr. Laskow talked about "affordable care" provided by UPMC. While it may be affordable to him, it most certainly causes more bankruptcies to average patients than any other businesses combined. If I were to cover my son, my monthly premium would have been more than $900 a month. Where does all that money go? How much advertising do you think is too much? (Hint: It's too much.)
I agree that UPMC's downfall would put a serious cramp on Pittsburgh, but with Mr. Laskow's own words, UPMC will be taking care of the baby boomer tsunami and the universal health care boost to available insureds. UPMC will have more patients than it knows what to do with. Quit crying and quit trying to become the world's largest profit-generating nonprofit.