Letters to the Editor

Letter: No free care

January 11, 2014


To the editor:

Recently on these pages fellow citizen Melinda Henderson claimed, “And colonoscopies and mammograms are FREE (emphasis hers) for everyone.” Fallacious is not a strong enough adjective to describe her rhetoric in support of controversial Public Law 111-148, entitled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA.)

There is no newly created free medical care provided by ACA. Free medical care is charity care voluntarily donated at no charge by a generous provider holding no expectation of reimbursement. Even then, there is a cost for the transportation of the patient to the charity care facility or the charity care provider to the patient — a cost that is paid by someone.

Costs involved for provision of colonoscopies or mammograms for patients under insurance plans under the ACA law such as: medical staff member wages, the purchase and upkeep of the medical instruments used, supplies consumed, and the cost of documentation in health records are not cost-free. Those costs will be paid by: 1) the pool of funds collected by insurers in premiums, 2) by tax receipts from productive workers, 3) other ACA-specific taxes and fees, or 4) by increased federal debt. Medical care provided under ACA with no co-pay, no co-insurance, and no deductible for the patient is not free, and I trust Ms. Henderson is intelligent enough to recognize the outright fallacy in her published words. I wish her well as she develops a refined, fact-based rationale for her opinion on ACA and other matters of public policy.


Leslie Swearingen 3 months ago

Thank you Ron for your excellent comments. I too have had a colonoscopy and it was exactly as you described. Much more emphasis should be on prevenative health care.

No one should be shamed into not getting the help for medical expenses that they qualify for.


Richard Heckler 3 months ago

The more covered by "good insurance" the less all should pay theoretically unless the insurance industry decides otherwise. Keep a close eye on the insurance industry.

The health care industry has 8 lobbyists per elected official and they don't work for nothing and they also spread special interest campaign HEALTH CARE DOLLARS around generously, Reckless use of health care dollars I say. Guaranteed profit can we say?

Correct nothing is free simply because it is included in the price however because it is included as a matter of prevention it might be smart to make use of such an opportunity.

It's hard to feel sorry for the insurance industry who manages to receive more than $1.4 trillion tax dollars annually to cover a very wide sector of those having access to government sponsored medical coverage.

That $1.4 trillion tax dollars is more than enough to cover all in America under the Medicare Single Payer instead of only those mentioned above. In essence taxpayers may have better coverage under ObamaCare but we're still not getting the best bang for our tax buck.

Libby,Montana has Medicare Single Payer Insurance for all in that community no matter what so it seems to me Lawrence,Kansas should be such a community as well. This somehow got tucked into the ObamaCare legislation by Sen Max Baucus ....... the man who refused Medicare Single Payer Insurance a seat at the congressional hearings.

Do I believe Libby,Montana should not have Medicare Single Payer Insurance? Absolutely not. I believe all in America should have what Libby,Montana has been able to achieve.


Cille King 3 months ago

The ACA is pointing a gun? I completely missed that. I know that there is a $95 penalty if a person doesn't have insurance in 2014. As many previous discussions mentioned, we all pay in higher premiums for those who are uninsured or under insured. Doctors and hospitals have to be paid one way or another for all that care.

Also mentioned in past discussions, that preventive exams like colonoscopies can save a great deal of expense, suffering, time away from work and families with early detection.


Kendall Simmons 3 months ago

Contrary to "popular opinion" here, this letter (and the man's argument) is pretty well as awfully petty.

So Melinda Henderson should have written "free of charge". Or "free to consumers". Big whoop.

EVERYTHING has a cost...even our air (because, remember, we force companies to pay money to reduce pollution so that the air we breathe is relatively clean).

But, if Henderson shouldn't be allowed to say "free", then it should, for example, be just as wrong...and "fallacious"...for stores, say, to advertise "buy one, get one free" because, obviously, that second "one" is NOT free. I wonder if Kelly rails against that type of claim, too. Or is this, perhaps, just an "I hate the ACA" issue.

My gosh, when writing about getting charity care, Kelly declares "Even then, there is a cost for the transportation of the patient to the charity care facility or the charity care provider to the patient". You want to talk about "fallacious"? (A word he apparently enjoys throwing around.) What "transportation of the patient" cost is there for WALKING to the darn facility, as so many people actually do...both here in Lawrence and elsewhere?

Sorry, but I found this to be an incredibly petty letter.


Rick Johnson 3 months ago

Well written!!

Nothing is free!


Bart Johnson 3 months ago

Well stated. The job of economics, it seems, is to point out the negative side of government policies.


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