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CVS Health’s Plan to Hire Physicians

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To the Editor:
In his cover story, “The Missing Link for CVS” (Dec. 9), Josh Nathan-Kazis states that “investors have a hard time assessing something without knowing what it is that they’re going to buy.” How prophetic! As a CVS Health shareholder, I find little to celebrate about in the short term, and the long term is testing my patience. In my opinion, CEO Karen Lynch has two heels on banana peels. It’s time for her to show results before the proverbial organization notice goes out saying that “she has elected to spend more time with her family.”

Jon C. Jacobson, San Diego

To the Editor:f

Regarding CVS’ plan to hire primary-care physicians, the point is: We don’t like you. You turn us into machines that have to consult with more patients in less time to fulfill our contracts. Corporations are interested in profits, but physicians are interested in patients. Most critical to good-quality healthcare is the doctor-patient relationship. A corporate mentality damages this relationship. Corporations should sell pills, insurance plans, medical devices, etc., but not come between the doctor and the patient. The corporate and physician worlds are like night and day. They are incompatible.

Dr. Philip Kennedy, Duluth, Ga.

To the Editor:
As a retired physician, I was struck by the difference between urgicare and primary care. Urgicare is intended for quick access, typically to a physician extender, for patients with minor, self-limited problems such as simple lacerations and sprains. Primary care is usually provided by family medicine or general internal medicine physicians for chronic, ongoing problems based on a sustained relationship between the provider and patient. In addition, primary-care physicians rely on their preferred panel of specialists for referrals that might be indicated. Clearly, a neighborhood and readily accessible site for minor, one-time problems would fit within a pharmacy wishing to vertically integrate and expand. However, I question the strategy of trying to provide primary care on a continuing basis within those same channels.

Dr. Douglas Propp, Naples, Fla.

Out to Pasture?

To the Editor:
When budgeting, one must leave room for the unexpected (“Retirees Put Their Lives on Hold for Covid. Inflation Is Forcing Them to Do It Again,” Dec. 9). Surely we have had tough times in this country before. When I retire, I don’t expect smooth sailing for the rest of my days, and neither should others. Don’t overextend yourself. Don’t confuse affordability and entitlement. You can do what you can afford in retirement, not necessarily what your mind’s eye sees as what you think you should have.

Brad Ducoat, On

Retiree Considerations

To the Editor:
In “Cash Yields Are a Bright Spot for Retirees. Here’s How Much You Need” (Dec. 9), Elizabeth O’Brien says that cash yields have hit their highest levels in at least a decade, yet as attractive as they are, they can’t compete, so retirees should retain a healthy stock allocation. Good advice. But a retiree’s age and the amount of cash to invest must also be considered. Retirees in their 80s with well over $1 million to invest may obtain much better investment security in long-term Treasuries and FDIC-insured certificates of deposit—that is, as long as government shenanigans don’t prevent it or banks from buying them back when they mature.

Ron Minarik, Mystic, Conn.

Labor Market Picture

To the Editor:
In “Buckle Up: It’s Going to Be a Hard Landing” (The Economy, Dec. 9), Megan Cassella makes some very cogent points indicating that the outlook for the future may be somewhat more ominous than the markets are anticipating.

While many of the supply-chain logistic snafus caused by Covid-19 have been resolved, hence lowering the cost of goods, Cassella correctly points out that the labor market is painting a very different picture. The continuously higher rates that employers are having to pay to hire or retain workers are sticky and will not go down.

This leads me to believe that the Federal Reserve may be making yet another mistake with its focus on a continuing inflation rate target of 2%. With inflation still at high levels, a continued push by the Fed to reach 2% may cause much more damage than currently anticipated. I think the Fed needs to seriously consider the viability of the 2% target.

Arthur M. Shatz, Astoria, N.Y.

BREIT’s Nonsurprise

To the Editor:
Andrew Bary states that BREIT “wasn’t supposed to offer surprises” (“The Lesson of Blackstone’s Retail Real Estate Fund: Liquidity Matters,” Dec. 9). It didn’t. The “surprise announcement” that it was limiting redemptions after requests hit the quarterly limit can hardly be called a “surprise.” The parameters were clearly spelled out to potential investors. If you want long-term returns in a category such as real estate, you have to give up something. In this case, it’s liquidity. How in the world did supposedly sophisticated investors expose themselves to a “run on the bank”? Why would you rush to redeem the fund you invested in for the long term? Why put more short-term pressure on your own long-term investment by backing BREIT into forced asset sales when there is no problem with returns? Why would regulators take a look at nontraded funds due to investor illiquidity issues when the parameters were well spelled out?

Maybe the very concept of “sophisticated investors” is an oxymoron. They are just as lured by that bright, shiny object as the crypto chasers.

Harvey Rosen, Brooklyn, N.Y.

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