Star Ford

Essays on lots of things since 1989.

Health care: my experience of waste

on 2009 October 15

(letter to the editor)

On a recent trip to a hospital, we waited and waited – and waited – for stitches. And watched as they threw out hundreds of dollars worth of supplies, and went through unneeded procedures. It was the night of “wait and waste”. My daughter didn’t need an X-ray or any other equipment. All she needed was a clean needle and thread!

If she had needed a stucco repair, she could have gotten bids, and the suppier who could do the best work the most efficiently would be rewarded, to everyone’s benefit. But instead, she needed a cut sewn up, so the supplier who could think of the most procedures to do got the biggest reward.

I hope that Senators Bingaman and Udall will work to create the kind of market competition that rewards quality and efficiency, while also ensuring everyone can get treatment. A public option that pays for results rather than for procedures appears to be a reasonable way to achieve this.

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