Aug 20, 2021
As a young doctor, I entered the big scary world out there by working for the medical university, my alma matter. I tried to find a place in the corporate healthcare world, to eventually run a rural outpatient system. After many years in that world, disillusioned, I finally decided to open a direct primary care, membership based, affordable practice in my small town. Not cumbered by health insurance, I was able to rediscover my love and passion for medicine and in partnership with my patients I discovered that medicine is affordable and healthcare industry is a scam. Between big pharma, health insurance, pharmacy benefit managers (middle men) and other entities, patients ended up paying an arm and a leg for a product that at times cost less than 5 dollars. Is there an industry out there where the consumer has no clue how much he or she are paying for a product? It is a rhetorical question because sadly the answer is well known, healthcare.
Imagine being a young parent, your child falls down, needs stitches and you rush to the emergency room, give them your insurance card and after few hours you go home. You paid your deductible, let’s say $250 and you think how great it is your insurance will pay the rest. Two weeks later you get a bill from the hospital, emergency room. Then few days later you get a bill from the emergency room physician. Many dollars later you finally pay that bill and then start to breathe again. But if you went to another hospital system maybe that bill would have been cheaper or even more expensive. Who knows? Sadly, not even physicians know.
Those examples and many more is why I left that world. When I order a test or medication, through free market competition and research, my patients know exactly how much a test cost in several places and together we decide how to proceed. What healthcare industry conveniently forgot is that patient is a consumer and holds the ultimate power in their medical decision and we, physicians, nurses and other staff are their advocates and partners in delivery of their healthcare needs. Sounds simple, but as one can imagine it is not.
The corporization of the health care system in United States has opened the door to one payer system and each day we are getting closer and closer to that reality unless physicians like myself and other healthcare workers decide to unplug from the matrix and practice medicine the way it was always meant to be practiced, with the patient at the forefront.