Yesterday’s L.A. Daily News business section featured an interesting story about concierge medicine. I was delighted to be one of the physicians interviewed for the story. I’m grateful to Barbara Correa for shining some light on a practice model that has received very little attention — a model that I’m convinced is better for patients, better for doctors, and better for the healthcare system. I’m also grateful to my patient Deborah Bradley for taking the time to talk to her.
The story is called “Ca$h Care”, which is a cute headline, but highlights what a strange marketplace healthcare has become. We expect customers to pay for their own food, housing and transportation, but we’re still not used to patients paying for their own routine healthcare. We would never let our employer decide for us who can sell us a car, or where we can shop for clothes, but we’ve become used to the idea that our employers should determine our healthcare options. The only solution that will work nationally is the solution that has worked in the distribution of every other good and service. Routine care should be paid by patients who should be free to seek care from any physician they choose. The price for that care should be set by the patients and physicians. Health insurance should only cover unaffordable catastrophes, and like life insurance or car insurance, should be removed entirely from the responsibility of employers.
So please help me spread the word. Otherwise, when patient-sponsored medicine makes quality affordable healthcare widely available, the L.A. Daily News will get all the credit.