Managed Care Gets A Bum Rap

Robert Kuttner's views on managed care ("A dirty little secret: Managed care is bad for business," Economic Viewpoint, Dec. 21) are so riddled with false assumptions that it's hard to know where to begin to repair the damage.

In reality, the government health-care systems he so admires in Canada and Europe limit access to care through queuing. (We do a great business in Canada selling supplemental policies to Canadians so they can get health care in the U.S. when they get sick.) In the U.S., managed care focuses on preventive care, disease screenings, and disease management techniques--all designed to avoid more serious (and costly) illnesses by getting care to people sooner rather than later.

And how many business leaders worried about health costs are willing to test the assertion that a government monopoly (the same people who brought you $600 toilet seats) would add less overhead than a private system where hundreds of health plans compete for their business?

Around the world, there is a growing preference for privatization and managed care as the solution to soaring costs and sinking service. If the U.S. were to heed Kuttner's advice, we would find ourselves bucking the trend in favor of a big-government ideology that ignores the painful experiences of other countries that have found government health-care systems wanting.

Richard L. Huber

Chairman and CEO



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