I have said before that I think the problem in the US is that altogether we have too much health insurance. Health insurance is like a big SUV on the road. It’s safer for the diver of the SUV but more dangerous for everyone else. For each individual its better to be clad inside of a tough truck, but if we all go out and spend money on big trucks we are collectively no safer?
Because congestion is just as much of an issue in the examination room as it is on the highway. The more doctor time we take up, the more lab time we take up, the less there is for everyone else. For most commodities this doesn’t matter because each person pays a little extra when he or she buys the good. When you buy a box of cereal for example there is one less box for everyone else.
Yet, you paid the full cost of that box, so you have an incentive not to buy more boxes than you need. With health insurance few of us pay the full cost of our treatment, so we have an incentive to get more treatment than we need. In fact, our doctors, if they are good doctors, have an incentive to prescribe more treatment than we need.
Every doctor wants their patient to have the best chance at good health. If prescribing one more test or one more drug doesn’t cost the patient that must a doctor would be remiss not to go the extra mile.
All of this means that an exam room resembles a highway lane more than it does a supermarket aisle. We all are driven to grab more of the medical pie than we need and this leaves less and less for those who are not fortunate to have insurance.
Similarly we are driven to drive bigger cars than we need and wind up making life more dangerous for those who cannot afford big SUVs. The solution is not to get everyone a big SUV but to stop buying big SUVs ourselves. This means less insurance and more of this
More people are heading to their local drug store instead of their family doctor for medical checkups. Establishments like MinuteClinic, Take Care and RediCare are taking up more space in major retail stores to diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for patients with common illnesses. . .
The clinics are typically small, with one or two exam rooms, and are staffed by board-certified nurse practitioners and/or physician assistants, but usually have a physician's oversight. . . .
Patients know ahead of time what they’ll pay for their treatment since prices are posted outside each center. . . those paying cash or credit card are charged between $49 and $59 per treatment. That compares favorably that to a standard doctor’s visit, which could cost over $100.