Concierge Medicine – A Further Divide

This morning, I skimmed my tweets to see what the tweeples are talking about.  One posting about concierge medicine really stood out.  Premium-based healthcare, as it is called, allows people to pay a fee in order to ensure quality healthcare.  Yep, that’s right.  In this scenario, quality healthcare is no longer a given (not that you can rely on it these days anyways)….you have to pay for it!

I think we can all agree on a few points.  First, doctors are underpaid (thanks to the greed of insurance companies) and the majority of them have overwhelming patient loads.  BUT, second, and most importantly, the patient ultimately pays for all of this.  Five minute office visits and a doctor who’d just as soon throw a prescription at you than take the time to find the root cause, have become the norm.

While establishing a concierge healthcare system compensates those doctors who chose to cater to the wealthy, what about the poor people who can’t afford the current healthcare system or the doctors who chose to provide services to them (wonder how many would jump ship if they knew they could significantly increase their income by charging the wealthy $4,000 a year in addition to regular costs)?

Establishing a premium-based healthcare system isn’t healthcare reform (I haven’t seen anyone call it healthcare reform, but I wanted to rule that out right away). True healthcare reform addresses the  quality of care and access to healthcare.  What’s reforming about telling people, “Okay, you can have quality healthcare and premium access (under the premium-based plan doctors will make housecalls) if, and only if, you can afford to pay for it.”?

This sounds like just another way to widen the gap between the haves and the have nots.

What do you think?  Share your thoughts.