THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
UNION RIGHTS ON THE TABLE

We’re targeting wrong culprits on health costs

May 1, 2011

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THE WORD is that the health care costs of municipal employees are driving cities and towns into the ground (“House votes to restrict unions,’’ Page A1, April 27). So we see elected officials and think-tank gurus — who have their own top-of-the line health insurance — voting to reduce health benefits for the people who keep their towns and schools running.

You only have to look at a recent hospital bill to see what is really costing our communities so much money.

In my recent visit, I got an X-ray, a cloth expertly wrapped around my broken finger, and instructions to go see a surgeon. Cost: $900. And where does that money go? To pay the tremendous profits of pharmaceutical, medical supply, and medical equipment companies and the astronomical salaries of their top officers, and to pay the big salaries of the top executives and doctors at so-called nonprofit hospitals.

Of course, my excellent insurance policy paid for the whole thing. But in order to cover these health costs, plus the profits and multimillion-dollar salaries and health benefits of its own top executives, my insurance company had to raise my premium this year.

What is weighing on cities and towns is not the health benefits they provide their workers. It is the money they have to transfer from the public till into the most expensive health care system on earth.

Paul Shannon
Somerville