Health care execs should check their greed

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While Dr. Dennis Gabos writes a compelling article bashing his employer, UPMC (“A Tale of Two UPMCs: The Highmark-UPMC Dispute Is Bigger Than Either Institution,” May 4 Forum), perhaps the good doctor should have expounded on the Highmark side of health care. If Dr. Gabos thinks the Highmark executives sit in Fifth Avenue Place surrounded by cardboard boxes for furnishings, then he obviously hasn’t been there. The millions of dollars spent on upper floors of corporate Highmark could provide hundreds of Western Pennsylvania residents with free health care.

But let’s look at how Highmark got to Fifth Avenue Place. For decades, Highmark was the only game in town. The Pennsylvania Insurance Commission requires health insurance companies to have a predetermined cash reserve for catastrophes. I believe Highmark’s “reserve” is hundreds of millions over the necessary requirement set by the commission.

I’m not a health care professional. However, I spent the majority of my career in medical sales, watching enormous waste throughout the medical community. Dr. Gabos should have mentioned that the solution to “our” problem would be for both sides to put greed aside and look at what is best for the citizens of our community.

Perhaps corporate executives of both Highmark and UPMC should be the ones who take the Hippocratic oath, or at least read it. However, I’m not sure they have time to pull themselves away from the various functions they must attend — you know, playing golf at exotic courses and attending “conferences” in places most Western Pennsylvania residents save a lifetime to visit.

Come on. How about these folks looking into the mirror for a reality check and doing what’s best for us, the people who are paying their way through high and mighty lifestyles?

PAUL SAWYER
Baldwin Borough


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