Dr. Sidney M. Marchasin's article (Editorial Pages, Feb. 20) dealing with the Medicare guidelines to doctors and hospitals raises more questions than it answers.
Certainly his compassionate, caring attitude toward the patients who come under Medicare is most welcome, but the doctors and the hospital administrators must take some responsibility for the financial difficulties that Medicare claims it is facing.
Many of us in our senior years who are now eligible for care under the Medicare program cannot forget the manner in which the American Medical Assn. fought this program, and yet when it came into being these same doctors became aware that they would have an income for life and welcomed it with cautious acceptance. Unfortunately, many of them abused it by overcharging by so much that a supplemental insurance program had to be purchased by the patient to cover these charges. However, even this was not enough to meet the fees of the doctors and the added hospital changes.
Now with all the cuts in the Medicare benefits, which in turn cut the benefits of the supplemental insurance (because this is based on 20% of the accepted Medicare payment), many people are not getting the necessary medical care that they should have, and many are not being admitted to hospitals except for emergency care.
There is only one fair answer to all of these problems and, that is for this country to have a national health program. We would have had it in 1936 if the American Medical Assn. had not fought its coming into being. I am sure the AMA will continue to fight its acceptance, but in the end it will have to come, as millions of people in this country, especially the young and middle-aged, live in fear of becoming ill with no financial resources to see them through.
I would hope the American public would take seriously the fact that eventually there will be medical catastrophes in this country if there is no government program for the health care of all the people--rich and poor alike. For the rich who prefer and can afford private care, that will always be an option for them.
Meanwhile, every civilized Western country in the world has a national health program for its people. Here we are the richest country in the world and we don't care enough to have it for our people. Why?