Health empires

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Our minds and bodies are being fought over by two adversaries who seem to be lacking the moral wisdom to know they are posturing from a highly contentious platform that smacks of a conflict of interest. On the one hand, they are touting the welfare of the communities’ health care and, I might add, toward that end, they have performed admirably.

UPMC, as a provider of many and varied hospital facilities, was top-notch in its caring for the sick. Highmark was well-regarded as a buffer for its subscribers, softening the blow of financial disaster. All of a sudden UPMC decided it wanted a piece of the insurance pie. How that was allowed to happen is beyond me. With newfound money, it built, acquired and closed hospitals to suit its needs.

Highmark, taking notice of this, decided that this was too good a deal to pass up. Doing the reverse, the insurance giant began to save a struggling hospital system. Now that system has become part of its empire.

The outcome now is that we find both locked in a war of words in newsprint, radio and TV ads. Each one is jockeying for position to win the hearts of the community. From what I hear, community members are fed up and worried they will become the casualties of the war.

Again, I say, “enough is enough.” If they can’t control the situation by peaceful dialogue, then the officials elected by the people should step in and issue guidelines that would separate health care from the clutches of the insurance provider.

Nowhere does the Hippocratic oath imply allegiance to an insurance broker; therefore, a separation of the two should be made post-haste.

JERRY McCUNE
Forest Hills

 


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