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Opinion >  Letters

Open up medical care

As Americans, we celebrate free market capitalism. It works very well for most industries. If you want to buy a TV, for instance, it’s extremely easy to compare them. Detailed information is available on each model, you know what each costs and can compare prices between stores.

Not so with the medical industry. It makes tremendous profits while not actually participating in market capitalism.

Do you know what a trip to the ER will cost ahead of going there? Can you compare multiple emergency rooms to make an informed decision? Are you told what an ambulance ride will cost? Were you told what your COVID-19 test would cost? No, you find out after the fact and the cost may be unbearable for most.

Medicine is completely opaque when it comes to costs. Is there anything else you buy without any idea what it costs? Hospitals and providers can take tremendous advantage of our ignorance to their costs and our misplaced trust in them, particularly when it comes to the uninsured and underinsured — the majority of Americans. A trip to the ER is likely to saddle one with bankrupting medical debt, even though it’s entirely possible they do literally nothing for you except possibly unnecessary testing. There’s a lot of profit in that.

This industry needs regulation and major reform of their anti-competitive business model. We need to force participation in a free market. This system is not working for us.

Arthur Lund

Coeur d’Alene

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