Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Country-Club Health Care

While politicians slobber about democratic principles of universal health care and market competition, an increasing number of Americans are turning back the clock to a me-first, screw-the-poor solution that would not have offended Louis XIV.

To bypass HMOs and managed care insurers, doctors are setting up their own little country clubs for patients who pay dues of at least $1500 a year, much more in many cases, while turning away others they used to treat on a fee-for-service basis.

Revealingly called “concierge medicine,” this kind of exclusion is understandably attractive to physicians who can see a dozen or fewer patients a day rather than the 25 to 35 in a conventional practice. For patients who can afford the tab, it means less waiting and more attention.

But with a nationwide shortage of primary-care doctors, this trend will only exacerbate the health-care crisis in America.

As the candidates push their umpteen-point plans, the market place is working out its own answers that are not politically pretty. Revealingly, soap-selling Procter and Gamble has bought a stake in MDVIP, one of the largest concierge groups.

Marie Antoinette’s philosophy is alive and well.


Matt said...

The rich always have it better than others so why not have the best medical attention. Even without formalizing the system, it has always existed that those with power and pelf are treated better. Who can blame a doctor for wanting to make more money and have more time and less exposure in gaining that.

coltergeist (no relation to Ann) said...


And the rich will continue to have better health care under a single payer system, they might have to forego one of their Rolls Royces though, sniff.

It is really simple, cut the insurance companies out of the equation. Taxes will go up, and health insurance will go down, to zero. They are a middleman that is not needed. Medicare has something like 3% overhead while insurance companies have 30% overhead. Head to head comparison of the free market vs. government provided health care and the free market got pwned.