No 'wasteful treatment'


To the editor:

On the same day CNN reported about a California lawsuit against Aetna for denial and delay of a life-saving procedure, President Trump proposed cutting Medicare 7.1 percent ($500 billion through 2028), and Medicaid by 22 percent ($680 billion). Both Aetna and Trump defend their decisions by decrying “wasteful treatment.”

The lawsuit against Aetna is by a college student with a rare immune disorder. The California insurance commissioner, now involved, was appalled when he read a pre-trial deposition — specifically that “during the entire time he was employed at Aetna as its medical director in charge of appeals, the doctor ‘never once looked at patients’ medical records,’ testifying under oath that he relied on nurses’ recommendations, which he followed.”

Aetna has responded that its “guidelines are based on health outcomes and not financial considerations.” Aetna’s profits for the most recent quarter were up 75 percent over last year because “member costs were lower.” Aetna explained the continuing drop in health costs because “high deductibles” shift costs to patients, so many forego treatment, lowering “utilization.” Aetna profits by denying and discouraging health care.

We need to stop the madness. It’s time for New York to adopt the New York Health Act, to take profits out of health care payments. New York Health will cover everything Medicare and Medicaid presently fund before President Trump’s budget, and before Speaker Paul Ryan enacts his vow to fix deficits by slashing “entitlements.”

And the New York Health Act will give us more benefits at the same time that 98 percent of New Yorkers will pay less than they do now.

Urge your state legislators to vote for the New York Health Act. Let’s show our nation how health care can become the human right it is in the rest of the developed world.

Bart Schiavo

Bart Schiavo