Remember the bad old days? Back before AT&T was split up? See, prior to 1984, the government required certain services from AT&T. In exchange for providing these services, the government allowed AT&T to operate in a near monopoly. [notice that without the government enacting certain regulations, AT&T would not have been able to construct such a monopoly on it’s own.] After that divestiture, AT&T was forced to compete and guess what happened?
Price decreased. Quality and choice increased. In fact, the price for a minute of long distance has come down more than 70% since divestiture. Amazing. When the government, through regulating private companies, gets out of the way, competition ensures that the consumer wins. Why? Because these companies, in search of profit, will innovate in an endless drive to obtain more customers.
Michael Harris, MD, opted out of Medicaid and Medicare and rid himself of all commercial insurers. He put his urology practice on a strict cash-for-services basis in 2001 and he has not looked back.
And guess what happened?
“All the bureaucracy that is inflicted on a typical medical practice today contributes absolutely nothing to the care of the patient. All it does is hamper performance.”
But surly moving to an all cash based business cost him customers?
When Dr. Harris opted out, he lost about half of his clinical volume overnight. He has been steadily rebuilding his patient base, but estimates his clinic is 20% under capacity.
And what does he think of this downturn in his practice?
This is not altogether bad news, he claims. The reduced workload allows him to spend more time examining patients and educating them about their disease and therapeutic options.
Now granted, Dr. Harris is a highly specialized professional. But this model works just as well in the general practice world as it does for him. Consider this:
|Three Problems||Why don’t you schedule a physical?|
|DOT Physical||$65.00 (lab extra)|
|Evenings, Weekends, and Holidays||Extra Charges Apply|
|Complete Physical||$130.00 (lab extra)|
|Incise and Drain Abscess||$100.00|
|Forms filled out||$16.00|
|After Hours Phone Calls||$10.00|
|Biopsy Lesion||$70.00 (pathology extra)|
|House Calls||starting at $90.00|
|Pap smears||$25.00 (pathology reading extra)|
|Counseling||$90.00 / 50 minutes|
All of these services are provided on a cash only basis. Imagine, calling a real doctor, after hours, for only 10 bucks. And if he has to, he’ll come to your house for $90.
THIS is the model we need to strive for, not some bloated government plan that is doomed to fail and bankrupt us in the process.