Two traditionally “left-wing” media outlets publish article on examples of how free market solutions can work for patients and doctors.
from Huffington Post 5/26/2011
Direct Primary Care: Skip The Insurer, Get Better Health Care?
Health insurance costs have skyrocketed, making preventative care a near-impossibility for many Americans. But a unique system has sprung up, skirting around the insurance industry entirely: direct primary care practices. And the impact, proponents say, isn’t just financial. Direct primary care clinics could dramatically increase the quality of health care, too.
The idea behind direct primary care practices (DPCPs) is that patients pay a modest, monthly fee (often adjusted according to age and existing conditions) and receive direct access to their doctor.
This means practices generate revenue directly from fees and not from billing insurance companies or ordering tests.
So what are the health implications of these plans? Proponents say they are plentiful.
Because the fee model limits the amount of time doctors have to spend filling out insurance paperwork or battling over coverage, they have more time to devote to patient appointments.
from Minnesota Public Radio 6/20/2011
Doctor as renegade — accepts cash, checks, eggs or pie, not insurance
Osakis, Minn. — Dr. Susan Rutten Wasson sits on the corner of a bed in the cramped bedroom of Alice Johnson, a 91-year-old Osakis resident everyone calls “Grandma Alice.” She’s examining Johnson’s arm, which is swollen, she’s determined, because of a tight sleeve cuff.
Also in the room are Alice’s daughter, Ione, and granddaughter, Anne, who lives downstairs in the farmhouse Johnson has occupied for decades. A Rottweiler mix as big as a Shetland licks the face of 18-month-old Sarah, Rutten Wasson’s daughter, who sits on the doctor’s lap.
It’s more a scene from the days of frontier medicine than from the modern health care system. And that’s because Rutten Wasson, 42, is a throwback to a time before HMOs, electronic health records and hospitals with fountains in their lobbies. She sees patients the same day they call if she’s not booked up, spends at least a half-hour per visit — compared to the more typical 15 minutes — and usually charges only $50 for a consultation. She takes cash or check, but no insurance — and sometimes accepts gratuities of a dozen fresh eggs or a pie.