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When you walk into your doctor’s office, what do they do? They don’t really look at you, they just look at their computer screen. Their eyes are glued to that screen for most of your appointment because they have to write a note that is billable before their next patient walks in the door.
That’s their job, to bill the insurance company. You’re the means by which they do it. Your satisfaction doesn’t really matter and your health doesn’t really matter as long as they get paid.
I’m sorry to say it, but your longevity doesn’t really matter as long as they adequately address your complaints according to the standard of care, not according to what’s necessary to help you live the healthiest lifestyle.
Even then, the longer you live, the more expensive you’re going to be to treat.
So how do we change this and make sure doctors care about you? Read on to find out…
When we talk about how we got in this mess, first we need to look at how insurance works.
A big reason why it fails has to do with who is paying. Because whoever pays is the customer, and the customer is who will get the best treatment. When insurance companies pay on your behalf, they are the customer, not you, and doctors will suck up to them more than taking care of you.
When you have a frank discussion about health care, the last thing anyone wants to talk about is money. Health care is seen as a holy thing and a human right, but the thing is, doctors have to get paid, and people who make drugs also need to get paid.
You can’t avoid economics when it comes to providing health care, but you can leverage it so people get better treatment for a lower cost.
When you pay for health care, you think you’re paying the doctor, but you’re not. You’re paying an insurance company, who aren’t healthcare providers. The flow of money is handled by the company, and the focus is lost along the way by the time you see a doctor face to face.
With the way medicine currently works, the responsibility just isn’t there. You, as a patient, have no financial incentive to minimize costs. This is why there are patients who over-consume scarce resources while others are left out in the proverbial cold.
On the other hand, we have a centralized and bureaucratic medical industry which has little incentive to promote overall health and engage in preventative care, but has lots of incentive to perpetuate chronic illnesses and push unnecessary drugs.
The system simply isn’t a health system, it’s a sick system. Why do you think we have so many deaths due to medical error? It’s because our system doesn’t reward attention to detail and care. It rewards squeezing as many patients through the doors as possible to tick boxes and get paid.
What we really want is for people to buy health care like clothes. When you buy clothes, you give the salesperson money and you get what you paid for.
The salesperson is responsible to sell you good clothes at a cheap price, so another salesperson doesn’t get your money. If you don’t like what they’re selling, you can go somewhere else.
When this direct, value-for-value relationship is changed to something else, like you paying someone else to pay the salesperson to give you clothes, the incentive to sell good clothes is lost.
This is why in countries like Venezuela, bread is expensive and unavailable, while in the US it’s cheap and in every store.
The way the system currently works is that you do not buy health care directly. This means you are not a customer, so you get treated like a beggar.
Doctors have to see patients just because of their contract with insurance companies. They don’t see people because they want to, or based on how busy they are, it’s what the insurance companies say. Thus you are a burden on them, not somebody they want to satisfy.
The medical industry is perfectly happy to be a cartel and to not have to adapt to patients’ needs. There is no direct feedback from cash-paying patients to provide more hospital beds or to increase the amount of chemotherapy available.
Think instead of a system where doctors are obliged to take care of patients for fear of losing them, and you’re responsible for being efficient with your own healthcare expenditure which would encourage doctors to deal with you. Fair’s fair, after all.
When you bring up cash-based health care, people feel uncomfortable because they expect it to be expensive like private schools.
But this system called Direct Primary Care can be far cheaper than the standard insurance contract; The average monthly bill is less than $100!
Direct Primary Care is a type of private care where doctors who have opted out of the insurance system open their own clinics. They work directly with patients, and you pay them a monthly fee to get unlimited access to them.
They’re far more focused on your overall well-being, as they have an ongoing, direct relationship with you; preventative care becomes far more important.
Plus, they’re a lot more receptive to spending time with you because they don’t have all the administrative oversight that is required from doctors who work with insurance companies.
As the insurance model is the primary way people get health care, cash-based solutions are seen as ‘extra’ conveniences that only the rich can afford, but as the industry sees people becoming more interested in it, the already low costs will only come down as more providers will see a market and pile in.
The way the current mainstream healthcare model works means that patients are seen as expendable, and it’s terrible for patient wellbeing.
What we really need to do to fix the relationship between doctor and patient is to switch to a cash-based system.
Direct Primary Care is currently the best way to achieve this and engage in better preventative care and long-term health.
Have you made the switch to Direct Primary Care yet? How did it compare to your insurance contract? Let us know below.
This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.