As a taxpayer and senior citizen, I read with interest and dismay Ezra Klein’s April 28 Business article, “The nurse’s house call: If this were a pill, you’d do anything to get it.” It focused on an experiment, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, that apparently showed having a nurse regularly visit chronically ill seniors at home improves their health and lowers costs by keeping people out of the hospital. That this system may be shut down, rather than being improved upon and expanded, is a travesty.
Nancy Bonner, Keswick, Va.
Keeping people out of hospitals to the greatest extent possible is crucial for a reason Ezra Klein didn’t mention. Hospitals are a prime source of antibiotic-resistant infections, which threaten not only the elderly but everyone. Changing financial incentives — apparently Medicare’s current approach — has proved notoriously unsuccessful because profit-driven actors find ways to exploit incentives in unexpected ways, often leading to perverse results. Policies that specify actions known to bring about the desired results are much more successful.
Naomi Michele Pena, Arlington