I am gratified that Bill Frist ’74 remains actively involved in important medical issues (cover story, Dec. 12), but puzzled by his continued association with Professor Uwe Reinhardt in this endeavor. Reinhardt has not been a friend to most Princeton physicians, especially those of us caring for sick patients in the present environment. He is part of the problem and not the solution to the health-care crisis in this country.

Reinhardt was an early advocate of managed care, which most agree is a flawed system. In a Wall Street Journal piece, “Managed Care Is Still A Good Idea” (Nov. 17, 1999), he advocated that HMOs keep statistical profiles of individual physicians’ practices in an attempt to reduce costs. He made no mention of the billions of dollars extracted from the U.S. health-care system to pay salaries of officers and directors of for-profit HMOs and hospital groups. At that time, Reinhardt himself was a paid director of a for-profit hospital group. Now that managed care has failed to reduce costs and has frustrated many patients and physicians, he seems to advocate a reworking of this flawed system by adding mandates, vouchers, and government subsidies. 

The health-care crisis in this country has only been aggravated by self-serving political economists and politicians. More efforts are needed by dedicated physicians with the medical background and sensitivity to patients’ needs to address the many health-care issues in this country. 

Howard J. Zeft ’58