The crisis of healthcare is in its costs

Sep 22, 2019

To the Editor: 

The current conflict between insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Southcoast network is the most recent act in the absurd circus of unaffordable healthcare.

Southcoast president Keith Hovan is demanding higher reimbursements from BCBS to pay for their “world-class care.”  But for the typical patient, myself included, the crisis of healthcare has nothing to do with quality and everything to do with cost. Let’s look at the facts. Medical debt remains the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US. With 18% of GDP spent on healthcare domestically, compared to an average of 12% in other developed nations, we are spending billions more for comparable care.

As Americans we love being able to shop for the best price on groceries, electronics, and countless other goods and services. Only for our healthcare do we somehow find it acceptable to be locked into a system where charges are nearly universally hidden up front. Who hasn’t experienced the anxiety of opening a medical bill two weeks or a month after a visit to the hospital? We all want the best care, but at what cost?

I hope that BCBS and Southcoast will come to an agreement. In the meantime, I find it easy to side with BCBS’s mantra of controlling costs and difficult to sympathize with Southcoast’s attempt to use patients’ anxieties as leverage for a better position at the bargaining table.  

Matthew Sandefer