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Managed Health Care Merely Lines Pockets

July 31, 1994

* The article by Dr. Ken Murray (June 19) extolling the virtues of managed care is a lot of self-serving garbage.

Dr. Murray has only been in practice for 10 years, so perhaps he is unaware that without managed care, the American medical profession was able to bring to the populace the highest quality health care system in the history of mankind. And who were the ultimate judges of the quality of that system? The patients. Perhaps they can't define quality medical care, but believe me, they know it when they see it.

Managed care, in the form of for-profit health management organizations, is flourishing not because of the high quality of care, but because it is an immensely profitable business. Several HMOs recently admitted taking as much as 50 cents of every premium dollar for their cut before any health care was provided to anyone. A large group like the one Dr. Murray belongs to may take another 15 to 20 cents in administration out of that premium dollar. Could it be that the problem they had in obtaining quality mammograms was that 50-cent dollars don't go too far?

Hardly a week goes by that we don't hear of one HMO's buying another for hundreds of millions of dollars in cash. Where did all that money come from? Somehow it didn't get spent on patient care.

And Dr. Murray would have us believe that the end result of this scheme is a higher quality health care system.

Anybody want to buy a bridge?

LAWRENCE J. SEGAL, M.D.

Encino

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