Charging Copays and Deductibles During a Pandemic Is Foolish—and Deadly (Newsweek)

In areas of the country hardest hit by COVID-19, clinicians are already being forced to make tragic rationing decisions: about who to admit to the hospital, who to transfer to the ICU and who to place on scarce ventilators. These decisions feel out of character with our national identity. We normally think of ourselves as too wealthy, too committed to preserving American lives, to ration medical care.

However, rationing of American health care also takes place every day in subtler ways. We see that when a weekend tennis player with a sore shoulder decides to hold off on getting an MRI, or when a smoker with a touch of heartburn takes a few antacid tablets rather than schedule an appointment with her primary care physician. They delay care because their insurance companies require them to fork over copays and deductibles to cover the cost of these services, and they’ve decided that their money is better spent in other ways.

This may not sound like rationing on its face. But bear with me. Because when that “heartburn” turns out to be a heart attack, when that cough turns into a COVID-19 infection, delaying care to avoid out-of-pocket expenses can be deadly.

(To read the rest of the article, please visit Newsweek.)