Friday, January 30, 2009

Recovery of the Medical Market

American health care is in trouble. America's dependence on third-party payers and courtrooms to determine medical practice and price has placed us on the short path to health care bankruptcy. The simple doctor-patient relationship, a system where the patient pays for physician services and where the physician is responsible to the patient for services rendered must be reestablished. Our current path leads to economic failure, socialism, and a loss of American freedoms extending far beyond the realm of health care. True principles of economics must be applied to revolutionize medical field. We must recover the medical market.

We've been asked what it will take to return to this simple medical market. Here are FMP's keys to the return of the medical market and the return of health care availability and affordability to all Americans.

1) The return of the market must take place by market forces. We will return to the market because it is a system that works and sells itself. There may be laws abridging freedom and market forces that need be amended. Legislators can be won over for this purpose, but no fake economics of tax incentives or federal subsidies should drive the return to a medical market. Functional, profit-earning, fee-for-service clinics should attract customers and patients not because these consumers have subsidized health savings accounts, but because these clinics offer prices and services superior to that of their competitors.

2) The market will return as America escapes the standard of care. We've spoken of this in the past. The standard of care should rest in the hands of patients, not doctors. Patients should hold doctors responsible to their personal standard of care and deny them their business if they do not perform to that standard of care. The current high price of health care can be partly attributed to doctors treating patients by generalized, expensive, and self-serving standards of care that are established by courtrooms. These standards serve to protect the doctor and not necessarily serve patients. Patients are not and should not be responsible to the standard of care, but should only pay for health care that meets their personal standards.

It is worth suggesting that this independence from the standard of care will allow patients to seek non-traditional health care. It is quite possible that many, many consumers would choose the lower prices and competent services of nurse practitioners and physicians assistants if the states were to allow these practitioners due practice rights. It is also quite probable that this injection of medical supply into the market would significantly reduce the price of health care. That's food for thought.

3) The market will return when doctors realize they can escape the medical rat race. Doctors need to discover that they can determine for themselves the scope of their practice. They can escape from the bureaucratic crush of insurance company and government regulation. They can set their own hours and call schedules. For each doctor who wants his or her life and profession back, there are loads of patients who want affordable health care. Doctors just need to step out from the safety of government and insurance reimbursement to meet these patients and strike up a contract where each party gets what they want.

4) The market will return with idealism, sacrifice, and foresight. Once our medical revolution has begun and the medical market returns, the profiteers and followers of the Invisible Hand will get on board. But the path to medical freedom may require physicians who act because they see the oncoming waves of socialism, godlessness, and the loss of American freedom. It requires physicians who see the future and personally strive to change that future. It requires physicians who let integrity and the welfare of their patients dictate their actions. It requires physicians who are willing to ennoble mankind, educate him, and make him the master of his own destiny and health. May we be and inspire others to be such physicians.

Rusty Scalpel

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