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The PJ Tatler

by
Helen Smith

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August 15, 2012 - 9:47 am

I read in the WSJ  (via Newsalert)  that patients are having a hard time finding primary care doctors. Here is what the WSJ piece had to say:

Are you having trouble finding a doctor who will see you? If not, give it another year and a half. A doctor shortage is on its way.

Most provisions of the Obama health law kick in on Jan. 1, 2014. Within the decade after that, an additional 30 million people are expected to acquire health plans—and if the economic studies are correct, they will try to double their use of the health-care system….
Their wait will only become longer as more and more Americans turn to concierge medicine for their care. Although the model differs from region to region and doctor to doctor, concierge medicine basically means that patients pay doctors to be their agents, rather than the agents of third-party-payers such as insurance companies or government bureaucracies.

For a fee of roughly $1,500 to $2,000, for example, a Medicare patient can form a new relationship with a doctor. This usually includes same day or next-day appointments.

It seems that ObamaCare will cause increased inequality in healthcare, not less as those who can afford it will flee the regular practices where doctors are no longer available and flock to concierge services. My only fear is that Obama and his ilk would outlaw these practices. However, if it works, count me in. For the price of a latte a day, I would much rather have a doctor who is paid well and who can give me a same day appointment than sit and wait in some government-run clinic for care that may never materialize.

What is your opinion on concierge medicine? Pro or con?

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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