In a brilliant analysis of the UPMC/Highmark clash (“A Tale of Two UPMCs,” May 4 Forum), Dr. Dennis Gabos highlights some of the negative consequences that will result if UPMC is able to deny access to its hospitals for Highmark customers, including exorbitant prices and denial of access to Highmark customers.
Dr. Gabos says that the vast majority of health care professionals, patients and citizens do not want to see UPMC win this fight, a statement supported by a recent survey published in the Post-Gazette. It is a lot more expensive to be sick in Pittsburgh than in cities of similar size, even taking into account our older population. The last thing we need is a health care monopoly which has the power to raise prices at will.
To give credit where it is due, Gov. Tom Corbett did manage to forestall this catastrophe for a year, but facing poor poll numbers, he probably has other concerns. The situation now just cries out for legislative remediation. There have been bills empowering patient access introduced in the House and Senate by Republican and Democratic legislators, but these have been blocked by Republican leaders in both houses.
Whatever their political affiliation, consumers need to write to their state legislators asking them to demand intervention in this attempted hijacking of our health care system. If UPMC wins, it will cost us all, either in our pocketbooks or, worse still, in the quality of our health care.
CAROLYN H. LINDBERG