Letter: Free market not answer to effective health care

To the editor:

Dr. Bruce Ippel’s column (Jan. 9, “Free market, patient protection, essential to quality health care”) is a gross oversimplification and distortion of the facts regarding health care and the free market system.

His comparison to car buying and health care is ridiculous at best.

His assertions that the “magic” of the free market has made the American automobile efficient and safe ignores the safety and mileage requirements that the government has required through the years. Without government standards, the automobile companies would have continued to manufacture the same 8-mpg deathtraps until some foreign company ran them out of business.

But the doctor wants health care to be free of government influence and requirements and allow the free market to control our health care. If the free market controls have been so great then quality affordable health care would already be a reality.

The truth is that the health care system is overpriced and bloated and sorely in need of government regulation. Maybe the good doctor hasn’t seen the astronomical average hospital bill for a short stay or met the bankrupt elderly who lose their life savings when they get sick. Or maybe the doctor’s main concern is that his cash cow remains healthy instead of the populace.

Bob Bauer