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Editorials: Point and Counterpoint |

Rebuttal From Drs Gaffney, Verhoef, and Hall

Adam W. Gaffney, MD; Philip A. Verhoef, MD, PhD; Jesse B. Hall, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

FINANCIAL/NONFINANCIAL DISCLOSURES: The authors have reported to CHEST the following: A. G. has received a National Institutes of Health grant [T32 HL116275]. None declared (P. A. V., J. B. H.).

aDivision of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

bSection of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

CORRESPONDENCE TO: Philip A. Verhoef, MD, PhD, Department of Medicine, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care, 5841 S Maryland Ave, MC 6076, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637


Copyright 2016, American College of Chest Physicians. All Rights Reserved.


Chest. 2016;150(1):14-15. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2016.02.661
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Extract

We welcome this important debate, which is unfolding at a critical political juncture. Dr Berdine’s counterpoint has usefully broadened our discussion beyond the issue of single payer to the larger question of the role of the free market in health care.

Dr Berdine argues that in an unhindered competitive health-care marketplace, the market will clear at a price and quantity of goods/services that, as if by definition, leaves all parties maximally satisfied. This argument is little more than a tautology that would, if possible, result in a health-care dystopia that society would not accept. Low-income individuals might “choose” to spend their money on food instead of asthma inhalers. By Dr Berdine’s logic, this scenario is as it should be, and any intervention by government would only make things worse. Those dying of status asthmaticus might beg to differ, if they were able, as might patients with hypertension who suffer strokes because they elected to cover their rent instead of paying for physician visits.

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