Sunday, October 30, 2005

Boutique doctors

In the Seattle Area, Dr. Daniel Frank sends a mass-mailing to us on Mercer Island advertising his "personal physician on retainer" system, where he charges $99/month (in addition to whatever insurance you have) to be your personal doctor. No waiting, plus instant attention to every ache and pain -- it sounds pretty appealing to me, and I'd probably sign up if I were a little older and thought I'd need more doctor services.

Now the New York Times weighs in with an article about
Lavish Care by 'Boutique Doctors' - [subs required]. After discussing some of the benefits, they add the obligatory reminder that this raises ethical concerns for how it's not fair to the people who don't pay.

Huh? The Super-Rich have always had this kind of medical care, and they always will. Same goes for people with a doctor in their family, or who for whatever reason are blessed by circumstance to be tied into the medical community. What's wrong with expanding this kind of service to everyone? The fee is within the paying ability of almost every American who values it enough to forgo other necessities. For people with chronic medical conditions or who for other reasons find themselves visiting a doctor regularly, I bet this is actually cheaper than the alternative because you get personal attention before an otherwise bothersome condition becomes serious.

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