Doctor and patient working together to find value (price and outcome) — what a concept!

The news recently has been inundated with stories and speculation about the upcoming health insurance exchanges mandated by Obamacare.    In the meantime, the WSJ published this op-ed from a physician, who saved his patient $17k on a routine procedure by performing the procedure for cash and bypassing his insurance company completely.

I bring this op-ed to folks attention for the following reasons:

  • what the U.S. healthcare system needs is more “value” from its healthcare spending.    More people on ‘insurance’ alone does not drive value.
  • if we learn how to deliver more affordable healthcare (value) — then as a society we can also figure out how to provide access to everyone.
  • Our current third party payment system (public and private) creates not only an unconscionable number of mis-aligned incentives and it inhibits innovation around delivering ‘value.’      Single payer would be worse.
  • While most folks accept that market based systems deliver better products at lower prices (value) they then go on to say – but healthcare is different.   I accept that healthcare has unique attributes (e.g. I can’t shop between an accident and the ER), but I firmly believe that a market based healthcare system where the consumer/patient managed the purchasing of health services directly would be vastly superior to what we have.     This op-ed demonstrated in one small way how that could be true.