Health Care’s Free Market Supporters

Published September 22, 2014

The letters section of the Wall Street Journal is one of my favorite things to read. The writers are often deeply knowledgeable and recognized leaders in their fields, allowing them to provide insight and important clarifications or corrections in articles that previously appeared.

This morning’s Journal contained two exceptional letters addressing the issue of health care, spurred by a previous op-ed promoting hospital mergers. One by Dr. Richard Amerling, president of the Assocation of American Physicians and Surgeon, includes this nugget:

A patient recently asked, “What would happen if there was no health insurance?” I responded, “The prices for all medical goods and services would immediately plummet.”

Exactly right.

The second letter includes this conclusion from Dr. Jane Lindell Hughes, a co-founder of

It would appear that Dr. Davis [author of the previous op-ed] envisions hospital CEOs in control of us physicians, who will be reduced to data-gathering widgets, as well as our patients’ available medical-care options, which will be derived from the meta-analysis of all that population data. This is the antithesis of all that is noble, compassionate, personal and dignified in medicine and surgery. If November brings change to control of the Senate, this insanity must be stopped. We are destroying our health-care system and with it the ethos of the country.

I encourage you to read the letters in full (subscription may be required, however): Hospitals Benefit from Mergers, But Patients Do Not.