Letter to the Editor

A better approach

San Luis ObispoApril 29, 2013 

The recent viewpoint (April 24) decrying Sierra Vista hospital’s planned cardiac program exemplifies the duplicity affecting our health care system generally. Comments that extol competition and not-for-profit status are disingenuous. The truth is that competition in hospital care is never price competition, and nonprofits make money, they just don’t pay taxes. Nowhere do we read that the service will be better and more cost-effective.

The fact is San Luis Obispo County enjoys an abundance of high-tech medical services inefficiently arrayed with no thought of competing to be cost-effective. Selectively jawboning the community to discourage development of a competitor is a time-honored practice in hopes of creating a profitable enterprise.

A better approach might be a coordinated effort to maximize cost-effectiveness. Examples of duplicated services abound including obstetrics, emergency departments, high-cost imaging equipment and clinical laboratories. And spare us the admonition that competition is good.

These authors are advocating a one-sided monopoly of services. A better approach would be to do as they state in reality, not rhetoric, and have hospitals jointly be “… directly accountable to the community.”

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service