Answers to Your Questions on Free-Market Medicine

Reader responses to my article on free-market medicine were overwhelming.

The most common question was, understandably, “Where do I sign up?”

So I went to my source, “Dr. V.,” from the story. I asked if I could direct readers to her for help locating a doctor near them.

Her nearly instant reply? “Absolutely! Send them (all) my way.”

That immediate enthusiastic response is exactly why I’m sold on the entire direct primary care (DPC) model.

Dr. V.’s contact information can be found on her clinic’s website at HealthSuite110.com.

In addition to helping Manward readers find a provider, she said she’d be delighted to answer questions from physicians who are interested in switching their careers to this model.

Reader Robert J., a doctor, made some excellent points when he wrote…

You left out that this is outpatient medicine only as these docs do not go to the hospital and are not affiliated with a hospital in almost all situations. You still need insurance…

That’s mostly correct. Many DPC doctors are without hospital affiliations, as well as the red tape and insurance costs associated with those ties.

But with that said… there are exceptions.

My doctor’s practice does have hospital privileges.

If I were to go to the hospital, Dr. V. would act as my advocate. Who better to discuss my health condition than a physician who knows me inside and out?

As my rep, she ensures the correct, best, most effective procedure… not some insurance bureaucrat.

A recent experience helps highlight the difference.

My Cancer

After an in-office biopsy, lab results came back to Dr. V.’s office. She called me right away… and used the dreaded “C” word.

Thankfully, it was a treatable type of skin cancer. It did, however, require a procedure more advanced than Dr. V. felt comfortable handling.

After our call, she arranged an appointment for the surgery with a specialist who also recently switched to the DPC model. And before things got too far, Dr. V. gave me the option to follow the old insurance-driven model.

I chose the DPC.

In one visit, a week later, my surgery was completed in 60 minutes. Two new scars were added to my collection. I walked out $125 poorer and exceptionally satisfied.

The real satisfaction came from the fact that, 10 years earlier, I had a nearly identical operation. The steps, from start to finish, took six months. And after the surgery, my mailbox was bombarded with nearly indecipherable insurance stuff.

At some point, a bill arrived… then another. And another. In the end, my out-of-pocket was roughly $700.

And, if I correctly read all of those insurance statements, they covered thousands in medical bills that I never saw.

DPC Is the Solution

So… after 10 years of escalating medical costs, how can a procedure that cost several thousand (plus $700 from my wallet) suddenly cost $125?

Something is clearly wrong with our current insurance-driven model.

Now please note that Robert J. was correct when he said DPC isn’t a replacement for insurance.

What it is, in my view and that of others who support a free market, is the long-term solution for a major problem.

You see, the issue isn’t your doctor. And it isn’t the hospital or even the insurance companies.

It’s the separation of the patient from the true cost for services.

Most Insurance Is Affordable

Your home insurance is affordable. Term life insurance is downright cheap. And even after paying for five 16-year-old drivers, I’d say automobile insurance is reasonable.

So why is it that health insurance is so expensive?

I’ll answer this with a couple of questions…

Would you insure your home against a broken window? Or how about your car… would you insure it against a flat tire?

Imagine how high auto insurance would be if you had to insure windshield wiper blades or other parts that require routine maintenance.

It would, logically, skyrocket.

If you think these examples sound foolish, you’re right.

But with health insurance, most folks insure against the equivalent of a flat tire. And, since the insurance companies never show you what you’re paying, you’re concerned only with your copay or deductible.

Those inflated expenses are distributed to everyone in your insurance pool. They surface only months later in the form of higher and higher monthly premiums.

Ultimately, it’s you who pays the hidden and exorbitantly high medical costs.

The DPC model short-circuits this hidden cost-escalating scam. It affordably provides for your body’s routine maintenance and healthcare, and allows you to use insurance for what it was originally designed to cover… catastrophes.

Hallelujah

“We need a hospital that uses the same process…”

That was another great comment from our friendly Dr. Robert J. When I read that statement, my first thought was “Hallelujah.”

Thankfully, these sorts of hospitals are popping up. And, while it may be hard to believe, they are profitably competing with the old model and Medicare by using true transparent pricing.

One excellent model can be seen at Surgery Center of Oklahoma. (Here’s a link to its site.) It’s a 32,000-square-foot facility, owned and operated by 40 top surgeons who believe in the free market.

The prices, found on their website, are stunningly low. Amazingly, a great many of the listed surgeries are well below my current deductible.

Direct primary care – and the free-market example it provides our country – is the cure for the malaise that’s plagued our healthcare industry for decades. I highly recommend checking it out.

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