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For-profit insurance barrier to universal care

In his recent op-ed, Professor James Burdick of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine writes that the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the ACA was a step toward universal care for all ("Universal care on the horizon," July 13). However, I find this assertion ironic because we are now further entrenched in a market system that does not embrace the idea of health care as a right.

Dr. Burdick claims the inevitability of universal care, stating that partisan arguments will have to subside and that ultimately, the ACA reduces costs through cutting over-utilization. The implication is that one of the primary barriers to universal care is the high cost incurred at the care delivery level. However, this fails to recognize that the real problem is with the insurance companies. Though the ACA took crucial steps like banning lifetime limits and denial based on pre-existing conditions, insurance companies, which still operate for profit, will now shift the burden of lost profits to caregivers who will be further limited in best serving their patients due to utilization controls. Even if we move toward universal care, what will be the standard of care?

All other developed countries that have been able to provide universal care have barred insurance companies from being for-profit, and only when we move in this direction will universal care become a foreseeable reality.

Abhinaya Narayanan, Berkeley, Calif.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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