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Letters: How we pay for healthcare

April 23, 2013

Re "Open the books on medical care prices," Column, April 19

I appreciate David Lazarus' column blasting inflated and mysterious hospital fees. But I feel compelled to comment on his statement, "I can't think of any other business that's permitted to operate this way."

That's true. But it's also true that no other business typically waits several months to receive payment for services rendered. It's also true that no other business is required by federal law to provide its services to a significant portion of its clientele (many emergency room patients) without any compensation. No other business has the consumer so divorced from payment for the service.

The typical patient has little "skin in the game." That explains most of the bizarre aspects of medical economics.

Richard Safrin, MD

San Diego

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