Dear Dr. Faria,
I obtained your address from directory assistance so that I could write to you and express my appreciation for your letter of July 23, 1999 to The Wall Street Journal.
I, too, have long believed that the best way out of the current mess is to make either all or none of health care expenses tax deductible, and to end the fiction that health insurance is a free "benefit" from employers, rather than representing compensation that might be much more wisely spent if the employee were in charge of it.
As a clinical psychologist in solo private practice with 30 years experience working in health care, I have witnessed the insurance-driven explosion of costs and the growth of the mistaken notion that health care insurance is necessary to obtain ordinary health care. If insurance were really insurance, purchased to cover the catastrophic event rather than as a third party payer for ordinary expenses, costs would very quickly respond to market forces and doctors would again be doing what they do best rather than betraying their patients' trust and wasting valuable time fighting with the clerks at the managed care office.
I find it truly distressing that the official line of my professional organization is to attempt to gain parity of reimbursement for psychologists, rather than to address the real problems.
Kathleen J. Burch, PsyD, RN
Correspondence originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1999;4(6);193-198. Copyright©1999 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).