Issue One: UPMC

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Pass this bill

In regard to “House Panel Weighs UPMC-Highmark Proposal” (Dec. 19) and the ongoing contract dispute, I cast my support for Reps. Dan Frankel and Jim Christiana’s bill requiring hospitals that operate as part of an integrated delivery network to contract with any willing insurer.

As a previous Highmark subscriber and current UPMC subscriber, I have seen both corporations “up close and personal.” This bill is necessary so that the 4 million Highmark subscribers are not denied access (no matter what UPMC says) to UPMC facilities who would be directly affected by no contract.

Two curious points: First, since Highmark now owns a hospital system, it would endure the same issues as UPMC by accepting all patients and their reimbursements. Second, with the onset of Obama-care, UPMC is not offering any of its Platinum plans on the government website as Highmark is. Since UPMC alleges it is a charity, one would think it would make all plans available to those most financially needy, who can get financial incentives on said website.

This bill must be approved now. Also, the Legislature should look at removing UPMC’s tax-exempt status unless a contract is signed.

LARRY GRUMET
Squirrel Hill

Out of whack

About UPMC, the charitable organization that fails to pay its fair share of taxes: For us, our co-pay increased 20 percent. Last year we had a very high deductible with no premium. This year we have a $1,000 premium and the same high deductible. What gives?

They say it’s because they have to offer treatment to so many people who do not pay at all. CEO Jeffrey Romoff received enough compensation last year to provide a marginally adequate income for 139 families of four. At the poverty level of $23,550, it would provide for 253 families.

Twenty-six top UPMC executives collectively were paid at least $40 million. That’s just the ones paid more than $1 million. What about the ones paid $900,000, $800,000 or $700,000 and so forth?

Isn’t there something seriously wrong with this picture?

BOB WELLMAN
Mount Washington

Nonworkers’ pay

UPMC claims to have no employees. Yet UPMC pays 26 people more than $1 million a year. I would like to be added to that list. Since I have not worked for four years (I am 72), I am as qualified as anyone not to be an employee.

I’m hoping the person in charge of paying $1 million plus per year to nonemployees will read this letter and, because of my willingness not to be an employee and my sincerity, add me to the list of million-dollar recipients.

HOWARD MADENBERG
South Park


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