Complex reality produces crisis

November 02, 1995

YOUR OCT. 13 lead editorial, "High marks for GOP Medicare plan," is deserving of an immediate critical response and a failing grade based on any reasonable measurement criteria.

Of course Medicare needs reform -- but so does the entire health-care system, as you acknowledge.

The GOP plan for Medicare, as well as many other GOP plans that you have opposed, fails not only the Medicare participants of today but those of the future as well. In fact, the existence of Medicare itself is threatened and only because I believe it to be the underlying objective of the GOP contractors (with America, of course) like Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The entire health-care problem exists because of the medical community's need for economic growth and our inability to control that growth. The insatiable urge for economic growth among the medics (as well as with everything else) produced a fragmented mass of specialists and sub-specialists, each striving to recover the exponential growth of the cost of their education and place a heavy pile of green paper in their piggy banks.

The supporting services raised the ante with the creation of bioengineers, technicians, radiological devices of all sorts, sonic scanners, instrumentation galore, drugs of every description, malpractice specializing attorneys, health insurance companies, billing clerks, statisticians, etc.

Please don't misinterpret me. I do not deny any of these good folks their well-deserved livelihood. All have worked hard for their education, are mostly involved with the notion of benefiting society and are entitled to an economically rewarding lifestyle. The problem is that over the last 45-to-50 years we all contributed to the present complexity of life, including the current dilemma of what to do with Medicare.

At the rate technology is growing today, and our inability to control the use of that technology given our mind-set of economic growth, chopping Medicare entitlements by $270 billion in the next seven years will do nothing to reduce the complexity of our society.

In fact, I foresee a continuing uncontrolled growth of poverty and disenchantment, irrespective of who controls Congress or occupies the White House.

In order to resolve the pressing issues of today, we must disavow political rhetoric and deal cohesively with the realities of complexity.

Sy Steinberg

Baltimore

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