Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dealing on Health Care

Here's a thought: as we noted as recently as yesterday, government distorts the costs of health care, making it more - not less - expensive. Wouldn't it be great if we let the market determine what health care should cost?

Well, that's exactly what some enterprising folks out in San Fransisco are doing:

"Daily deal sites ... are giving the uninsured and underinsured a chance to afford health care services ... Daily deal sites are offering more than dental visits. Dr. Julie Orman, a chiropractor, recently offered a $25 LivingSocial deal for care"

This is precisely how insurance used to work: people paid for the small, routine services out of pocket, and providers vied for their (cash) business. Insurance was for the catastrophic claims, like heart attacks and strokes. And this is duly noted, as well:

"Don’t expect to find deals on major surgery, though. Doctors mainly offer discount for elective services"

Quite so.

And it's good business for the docs, as well. FoIB David Williams, proprietor of the Health Business Blog, acknowledges that in the article. But he also offers this advice:

I would be careful about the upselling and I would also be worried that a [provider] once they have you in the office may find some kind of problem

True enough, but that can happen just as easily to an insured patient. And it may well be that there is something else wrong; perhaps that sore throat is a harbinger of cancer, for example, and is treatable due to that early detection.

Caveat emptor, anyone?

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