Re: “Uninsured freeloaders’ option: Stay out of the ER” (editorial, 3-27).
If your concern is with alternatives to emergency rooms for minor care, then we need to look at the role of retail health clinics and ask why we have so few in Washington state compared to other states. Does the Corporate Practice of Medicine law or other regulations play a role in this issue?
If you wish to find alternatives that reduce the high costs of medicine, we should be asking questions about how medicine is practiced.
Midwives deliver about 10 percent of infants in Washington state and less across the nation, whereas in Europe midwives deliver about 75 percent of infants with as good, if not better, results than doctors and at lower costs. In Washington, 50 percent of births are paid for by Medicaid. What would the savings be if midwives delivered 75 percent of the infants?
We know that almost 30 percent of Medicare’s $300 billion budget is spent in the last year of a patient’s life. How much could be saved if all patients filled out Advance Directives and all states honored them?
Why does the nation spend $100 billion annually on medical research, when we know that as much as 85 percent of it is of questionable quality?
There are a lot more questions that need to be asked. Ignoring them won’t make them go away.