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Friday, January 23, 2009

Highway Robbery on the Health Train


Willie Sutton, a notorious bank robber was asked, “Willy, why do you rob banks?” Willy replied, “’Cause that’s where the money is”

The WSJ blog recently ran a survey about how primary care funding can be increased.  The survey can be seen here.

The comments I made,

The poll results are most interesting, revealing a fairly even split across the board. This reflects the confusion, and disparate remedies proposed to ’save primary care and health care in general. It also tells the tale that there is no easy solution, at all. Money does not tell the entire story about primary cares negative features. I lay the entire blame on government and insurers. When CLIA came along 20 years ago many physician labs were put out of business, an important revenue source, within their own practice. Imagine a business that was ‘forced’ to use outside vendors for services easily provided in house, providing ‘convenience’ to their ‘customers’….That would be step one. Step two would be to provide additonal necessary services to patients, ie, pharmacy (which may or may not be economically feasible given today’s regulatory environment. Radiology, alternative medicine, accupuncture, chiropractic, et. also throw in  fortune tellers and palm readers (not the IT kind). As Obama once said. “It’s not a matter of too much or too little government, it’s getting it straight and doing it right.” What we need to do is signal the insurers and government that we will no longer serve their clients. Patient uproar would be so great within one month we would see a huge change. How about a 30 day withdrawal from practice. a 30 day vacation….it takes most payers 30 days to pay their bills….we can do the same thing.  If the patients take their medicine they will get better in the long run, no matter how bitter the medicine tastes. 

Comment by G. Levin M.D. - January 23, 2009 at 6:35 am

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