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PLATFORM : Hurt, Not Heal

February 16, 1992|DAVID A GOLDSTEIN | Dr. DAVID A. GOLDSTEIN, associate professor of medicine and co-director of USC's Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics, commented on President Bush's health-care proposal. He told The Times: and

President Bush's politically expedient, half-hearted proposals would exacerbate unjust standards of care. He ironically ignores the overuse of unwanted technologies thrust on the dying while perpetuating the underuse of the most basic medical care by the neediest.

One-third of our health-care dollar is spent in the last year of life. A huge savings might be realized if we educated patients and physicians about the aesthetics and efficacy of life-support technology instigated during the terminal stages of life.

Inadequate access to health care leads to huge escalations of costs. Clinics and hospitals that serve the less advantaged know all too well the horrible consequences: Patients get poor or no attention until their conditions are so neglected that they move to the top of the list.

President Bush would only worsen the problem by reducing Medicare and Medicaid payments to teaching hospitals, the very hospitals that so often provide care to the indigent.

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