nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Boutique" Medical Care? Charge Extra To Some So Others Can Be Seen Free?

This is going to cause some outrage among Lefties.

See this article on a clinic in Madison, Wisconsin, that give patients an option to pay a higher annual fee to be seen for outpatient care.  For the increased cost, they get same-day appointments, a longer appointment if needed, and 24 hour availability by phone and email.  The additional cost for the program goes to fund the care of patients who don't have the money or insurance to pay.  So it pays for some people who can't get care any other way.  [Note:  this is not for hospital care.  Patients have to have a high-deductible plan for that].

If you have a strictly egalitarian view of life, then the fact that some patients pay more for their care in order to get longer appointments (if needed) and quicker access to the doctor, will upset you...enough though the extra amount they pay goes to fund free care for the uninsured.

But in what substantive way is this different from taxing those who can pay to fund government health care for those who can't?

Aha, you say, but these folks aren't just paying more--as they are morally obligated to do--they are getting something for it that others aren't--despite the fact that "those others" weren't getting anything before.

Look at it from a different perspective.  Would you rather pay the extra money directly to the clinic that's providing the free care, giving you a more direct impact on the health of persons in your community?  The money you earn goes directly to a real person who needs help.

Or, would you rather pay a tax, that goes to the government, where they take their cut to fund the payroll of people who are employed to oversee the taxation--and administer the benefit (like Medicaid)--then have Congress use part of the money for other pet projects...and finally send what's left back to the clinic to reimburse clinic visits by those who are covered by the government program?

And, finally given all that, being a Medicaid participant still doesn't give the access that others have, because the government reimburses at too low a rate to easily find someone who will see Medicaid patients.

So, on balance, which is better at meeting our goals of access for all, and cost-effectiveness?  My vote goes to the clinic in Madison, Wisconsin.

Doc D

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