Imagine a health care system made simple

For cancer survivor, Medicare was not just good, it was a lifesaver

When I read the headline of Abdallah Fayyad’s March 21 op-ed — “Does anyone actually like their health care plan?” — I enthusiastically raised my hand to answer yes. I am a breast cancer survivor of more than 10 years, and the reason that I can write to you today is that I was on Medicare when my cancers were diagnosed.

Medicare had paid for my annual mammograms and MRIs, for my surgeon, and for the whole oncology staff who supported me and who continue to monitor my health. Had my cancers developed several years earlier, when I wouldn’t have been able to afford a mammogram or MRI, my cancers would have grown undetected and could eventually have killed me.

I thank my congressman, Bill Keating, and lawmakers on the Cape for their support of both national and statewide versions of universal health care. Health insurance is not what is important. What matters is the “care” in Medicare for All, or universal health care.

I hope that Fayyad will investigate pending legislation in Congress and on Beacon Hill and write another op-ed informing us of the benefits of a health care system that covers us all.

Betsy Smith


Clash over cost vs. access is a distraction — health benefits should focus on value

The fundamental question we need to ask is whether the benefit offering is aligned with and truly providing value to all stakeholders in the continuum — patients, providers, and employers.

Our health care policy conversations have continually zeroed in on a choice between cost and access. While this dichotomy has been propagated by insurers, employers have been forced to buy into it, and it has been easy for our government (either party) to embrace it. This flawed dichotomy has improved neither costs nor health outcomes, while creating a weak experience for the end consumer. We need to get past this dichotomy and drive a health care benefits conversation based on value.

Consumer research over the years has given us a recipe for making it better: comprehensive coverage for core wellness and preventive care services; solid handling of catastrophic coverage needs, to ensure that health care doesn’t drive bankruptcy; and competent handling of everything in between.

We need to focus on simplifying the system. Employers, who pick up about 80 percent of the costs for commercial health insurance premiums in the country, need to be more vocal about this.

Karthik Ganesh


EmpiRx Health

Montvale, N.J.

EmpiRx Health specializes in pharmacy benefit management.

By Percy