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End stalemate

| Friday, May 9, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

The stalemate between Highmark and UPMC must soon come to an end! The consequences of status quo already are upon us!

It is frightening that UPMC continues blocking those insured by Highmark from UPMC facilities and doctors. How can UPMC discriminate against Highmark and those it insures while enjoying nonprofit status in the same health-care field?

The essence of the fracas is that Highmark has entered the field of hospital care via investment in Allegheny General, et al., in addition to being a provider of health insurance. UPMC's aim seems to be eliminating Highmark as a competitor in both health care and insurance.

This so incensed UPMC that it decided, beginning after 2014, to ban those insured by Highmark from its hospitals, facilities and doctors, except Medicare and Medicaid patients (the federal government does not allow such discriminatory exclusions).

As it stands, there is no care or cost benefit for those who need health care, only lack of access. It's a great benefit to UPMC, giving it virtual control over availability and cost of health care in the Pittsburgh area.

Competition is critical to all in health care in the Pittsburgh area. The state Legislature is considering bills that would require all health facilities and their doctors to openly accept, on a nondiscriminatory basis, contractual arrangement for full access by bona fide insurers and those insured. Let's aggressively support this proposed course of action without further delay. The damage is being done daily.

John Weagraff

Richland

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