Readers React

The U.S. rations healthcare with price

To the editor: David Lazarus calls out the very high cost of some vital prescription drugs. ("Dropping coverage of popular prescription drugs is sad and shameful," Dec. 4)

While I agree with his belief that it's immoral to profit so much from the sick, I am even more interested in his broader point that healthcare "rationing" (the term pro-market supporters use to warn U.S. voters against the British and Canadian systems) is already taking place in the U.S. The difference is that here, it's economic rationing.

At least in Britain, if you are poor and your child gets gravely ill, while there can be frustrations, you don't face bankruptcy to try to get her treated.

Thanks to Lazarus for taking a principled position.

John Graham, Pacific Palisades

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To the editor: Lazarus writes about a prescription that comes out to $12 per pill. That's chump change.

In April, when I was receiving chemotherapy, my doctor prescribed three pills to take before each course. I had two courses of chemo before I decided I needed to get some other opinions about my care.

Each three-pill prescription cost $2,000; that came to $4,000 for six pills. I took them and then had second thoughts and sought opinions at City of Hope and UCLA, which did not concur with my need for chemo at all.

My insurance did not cover even 1 cent. Needless to say, I changed doctors.

Jacqueline Slutske, Thousand Oaks

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