Letters to the Editor

What you’re saying: John Rhodes, and Jennifer E. Copeland

Profit at public expense

Despite hospital leaders defending the same, the potential merger of UNC Health Care and Carolinas Health Care is not good news. Patients of both hospital systems have absolutely no control over the matter, including the potential for higher health-care prices. Control should be in the regulating bodies that purportedly look out after the welfare of citizens of the state. These bodies (N.C. General Assembly, UNC Board of Governors, Blue Cross, etc.) continually fail, and for a reason.

In 2007, UNC Hospitals CEO Dr. William Roper and then UNC System President Erskine Bowles misled the public concerning the purported cutting of $1 million in UNC Hospital executive bonuses. Although terminology changed, the monies received as “bonuses” continued in the same amounts disguised as unreported pay raises, which makes matters all that much worse. While bonuses aren’t factored into base salaries to calculate future pay raises, once $1 million is added to the base salaries addressed, all future raises are then based on higher and higher amounts than otherwise would occur.

By continually pointing to competition in the free market, these hospital leaders know just what to do and say to manipulate all entities, including those that should act as independent public safeguards, to increase revenue and provide hospital executives with more and more “non-profit” income at public expense. But rather than natural laws falling from the universe, free markets are created by individuals making decisions to satisfy human cravings for more, and this does not create the type competition that brings the price of health care down.

John Rhodes

Efland

State should pay

Regarding the news story “The state goofed on her disability checks. Now this 74-year-old amputee owes North Carolina $19,000.” (Sept. 18):

This is ridiculous! Why should the benefactor have to analyze the accounting from the paying party for accuracy. Treat it like a business. If a company under charged a customer for several years due to their own incompetence, they suffer the loss. This is the same situation. The government should suffer the loss and the error be reflected in the annual review of the employee who missed it. Period!

Nelson Jones

via newsobserver.com

Show some humanity

Regarding the news story “The state goofed on her disability checks. Now this 74-year-old amputee owes North Carolina $19,000.” (Sept. 18):

This state of affairs is Darwinian. Here are people in the autumn of their lives – unable to go back to work because of declining health and age discrimination. Moreover, just about every extra penny they received – due to the mistakes of the state – went back into the economy, for sheer survival.

Legislators need to show their humanity by putting an immediate freeze on garnishing and adopting a sliding scale on payback. If the recipient is in poverty – no repayment, then have a progressive scale that takes into account income, disability, age, and medical and health-care expenses.

Thanks to Ms. Shuford for letting her story be told. She shows commendable courage.

David Brook

via newsobserver.com

Letters

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