Your column on health-care costs accurately described the impending astronomical rise in health-care costs. But it failed to address the principal cause, which is the extreme overutilization of health-care assets for a segment of the population that gets little, if any, benefit. I am a family physician with a special interest in geriatrics, and I am mystified by the elaborate and extremely expensive care we give the elderly while virtually ignoring the young, who could benefit with a lifetime of good health with minimal expense to society.
The point you failed to see is that health-care delivery is primarily physician-driven. It is physicians who make the diagnoses, order the care and profit along the way. Society has only recently developed a system of cost control in Medicare, through limits on hospital payments, and in private health care, by using prepaid health care provided by health maintenance organizations and other medical groups.
We will also need to change the way we treat our elderly, many of whom want medical care to extend their lives only if we can also provide them with time that they can enjoy. If the best we can offer is slow decay in a nursing home, most of the elderly would opt for minimal intervention and a peaceful death.