Thursday, June 28, 2007

Insurance firms destroying health care

A letter to the editor regarding the health care system in Arizona missed the point of the real problems ("Medical liability is threatening Arizona's health care," Saturday).

There is a rapidly growing consensus that the primary problem with the practice of medicine today is clearly not the feigned "malpractice crisis" but rather the manner in which health insurers dictate and, in fact, intimidate physicians into accepting way too little reimbursement for the competent and beneficial care provided to their patients.

Insurance companies place physicians in completely untenable positions, namely, "Either go along with our pricing for your services or we will exclude you as a member of our physician panel." Studies over the past years have demonstrated that at the same time insurance companies are refusing reasonable reimbursements for physicians and medical groups, the insurance companies are reaping record profits.

Litigation is presently ongoing in other states involving doctors challenging the practices of health insurers in this regard but, to date, I know of no such endeavor within the state of Arizona.

If Arizonans want our physicians to be available for us and our hospitals to remain open and financially solvent, the relationship between insurance companies and physicians needs to be dealt with, either through legislation or by way of judicial action. In that regard, perhaps the legal community could serve the medical community very well.

Wouldn't such an alliance be helpful to all of us? - Steve Ryan, Scottsdale

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