Medicine is all about profits, not health

As a result of the alleged excessive use of stent implants by Dr. Mark Midei and his profitable relationship with stent-maker Abbott Laboratories, Sen. Max Baucus said: "Hospital patients expect their care to be based on medical need, not profits" ("Stents report finds potential fraud," Dec. 6).

You have to wonder what planet Senator Baucus lives on. Doesn't he understand that the entire medical system in this nation is driven by the profit motive? It begins with the health insurers and ends in the operating room.

So this relationship between Dr. Midei and Abbott Laboratories is business as usual. And when Abbott, a $30 billion corporation, ends up paying a few million dollars in fines to "settle" any charges resulting from this scandal, it will be business as usual as well, an ordinary business expense.

So long as profit remains the primary driving force, U.S. medicine will continue to be wasteful, fraudulent, and most important, harmful to patients.

This is certainly the case in Maryland, where according to the article's sidebar, "current regulatory efforts are incapable of preventing fraud and unnecessary medical procedures."

It's time for some serious regulation.

Howard Bluth, Baltimore

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