UPMC vs. Highmark

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ULISH CARTER

 

After watching both UPMC and Highmark on the KDKA Sunday morning program, my mind hasn’t been changed. UPMC is wrong in this battle of the two health insurance giants.

First let me correct something from my last column Gay Marriage vs. Live Ins. I said 60 percent of marriages end in divorce. Well that is correct, but I didn’t add that an estimated 20 percent more is added to this figure through separations. People who walk away from their spouses but never get a legal divorce, there are no real stats kept on these people. But in my long life I probably know more separated people than married or divorced. Divorces cost a lot of money, which most poor and low-income people don’t see a need to spend unless they decide to marry again, which is rare. I have nothing against marriage. I believe it should be as Jesus says, between one man and one woman, until death, which means a lot of soul searching before making that leap. I haven’t been able to live up to that. And probably never will. I’ve had a problem with the “one” woman and “no” sex before marriage part. I sure hope God is a forgiving God.

Now back to the Health Insurers and providers.

UPMC is running a series of ads which states that Highmark is trying to take 41,000 of their patients which means they can’t sign a cooperative agreement with them which would have the two giants working together in the best interest of the patients.  

They are saying that Highmark is trying to force UPMC customers to go to Highmark health care facilities. Well, being a UPMC customer myself, I have been forced to leave doctors I was content with, and a hospital just a few blocks from my home because UPMC would not pay for certain procedures unless they are done at a UPMC facility. And if a doctor is not listed under the UPMC plan the patient must find another doctor.

Most small businesses are constantly looking for the best or least expensive healthcare plan. Something they can afford, with lower payments from their employees, which leads to frequent changes of insurance companies. And just about every time there’s a change the employees have to change doctors and some have to change hospitals. So I do not understand what UPMC is talking about. They do it all the time.  

Highmark representatives stated that they want to make health care more competitive and felt that the patient should have the right to choose their doctors, and their health care facility. I agree.

That should be across the board. If you have a doctor that you are satisfied with then the health insurers shouldn’t be able to tell you that they will not pay if you use him or her. If you are satisfied with a health care facility or there’s one closer to you then you should be able to use that facility. As long as it’s cleared by the state health care agency.

I’m not big on government control, but this is a clear case in which government needs to step in and basically mediate this fight to make sure that the best interests of the general public is served, because this issue affects every single person living in western Pennsylvania. At some time or another we are all going to have to see a doctor or visit a health care facility.

THE MIDDLE EAST

The latest Middle East crisis is showing America’s hypocrisy. In Egypt where there was a democratically elected government, because the president and the party he represented opposed US and Western European policies, many are saying the US should support the military takeover that overthrew the government. The U.S. has not come out in support of either side. So the killings continue.

Either we are for democracy or not.

If we are for democracy then we must show the world that we don’t speak out of both sides of our mouths. Whoever wins the popular vote we should support, never a military coup. If we did we would get a whole lot more respect throughout the world and would have more influence. The right thing to do in Egypt is to condemn the military takeover and stop all economic support to that government until the democratically elected government is reinstalled. And if we have to send in air strikes to get their attention then we do it, but absolutely no troops.

By doing this we would receive a whole lot more respect from the Muslim people throughout the world, which would add more force and credibility to the U.S. push for democracy. Then when we speak the world will listen because we will have illustrated that we truly support democracy, regardless of ideology.

We shouldn’t have to all agree to get along.

Now it’s clear to the world. If less powerful countries don’t do what America, or Western Powers, tells them to do, they will not support them, even if they are a democracy.

If the U.S. helped the ousted president of Egypt regain power, I would think that he would be more willing to listen to America when we suggest to him that killing his own people is counterproductive. We can no longer dictate to the world how they should live, especially if we aren’t practicing what we preach.

(Ulish Carter is the managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier. Send comments to ucarter@newpittsburghcourier.com)     

 

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