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Medicine as a business

by grimgraphix / August 28, 2009 12:13 PM PDT

A couple of weeks ago, Dr Bill raised a question of what to do with a medical practice when the folks on watch were too ill to work. I made the comment to Bill that if one is supposed to look at medicine as a business then a clinic should operate under the same rules any other retail outlet... meaning that advertised hours should be honored the same way any other business is expected to...

Tonight on PBS, there is a fascinating show on Bill Moyer's Journal called "Money-Driven Medicine". I imagine it will be available to watch online sometime in the next few days.

It raised several interesting points such as...

? a corporation operated medical establishment has a greater obligation to it's stock holders than to it's customers.

? The highest quality health care, just like a Rolls Royce or Ferrari, will priced out of the reach of all but a few wealthy customers.

? Hospitals that have developed unique and highly successful methods for treating specific illnesses are discouraged from sharing their knowledge with other hospitals because of the fear of losing their market leverage.

? The introduction of Medicare in the 1960's by the government injected so much money into health care that it attracted businessmen to take over the direction and administration of medicine.

All in all a very interesting documentary. Some things I agreed with and some things I felt were off the point but all of it was thought provoking. I recommend anyone interested in the current health care debate to watch this show.

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I'll pick this line only for now
by Steven Haninger / August 28, 2009 8:13 PM PDT
In reply to: Medicine as a business
"? The introduction of Medicare in the 1960's by the government injected so much money into health care that it attracted businessmen to take over the direction and administration of medicine.

I believe it's been said here and elsewhere that Medicare isn't making "doctors" wealthier although a few doctors are good businessmen and have learned to milk that system. It seems to me that the real "injection" was that of the business community which is always looking for another cash cow. When business people get involved, there is both good news and bad news. The good news is that business people don't do everything themselves to make money. They create jobs and hire people to help them. This means more people have work. Now, for the consumer, this means they get to pay for the business people and all whom they employ....ergo, higher prices. I've been unable to find figures but it would seem to me that there has been substantial growth in jobs related to, but not directly involved with, medicine. This does include the insurance agencies. Doctors need to create or hire a "business" force just to handle insurance billing...and dealing with them can be quite labor intensive. My guess and, again I can't find numbers, is that the growth in auxiliary jobs to medicine has been quite disproportionate to "hands on" care. Good news....those people have jobs. Bad news....you're paying them now whereas you were not in years past.

We've discussed here, quite adequately IMO, the pros and cons of the financials of a single payer system. But don't we all want to make more money and pay less for services? Isn't that some part of our motivation here? But, what we haven't discussed is the pros and cons of maintaining a steady flow of qualified, well trained and motivated physicians to provide the actual services....and "motivated" is an all important word here. Certainly you can tell the difference in service received from someone who's truly interested in giving you their best quality time and one who's just doing their job. Wink
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Bill Moyers shows
by Willy / August 28, 2009 9:14 PM PDT
In reply to: Medicine as a business

I like Bill Moyers shows as they project a problem and provide all aspects they can on it. They don't taint or otherwise slant their views onto the topic at hand. In this regard, Bill Moyer maybe clearly pointing to a problem that the medical care world has gotten into at least in the USA.

Even w/o Medicare input, the whole issue of health care is the cost. These costs have risen beyond any COA increases and insurance isn't always effective as one would think. Because, if an operation or treatment isn't approved it won't be done. One would think this all falls into "specialize care/treatment", it's not so. Its the basic health care that is getting out of reach too. Preventive care for many is in itself becoming costly. The idea of general or whole community care as in "flu shots" while available can be side-tracked as not enough is available because the co. doing it isn't prepared. You would think a co. that provides flu shots/vaccine is preparing for all factors, they're not. Then on top of that, its only a small group of companies doing it. Add on to all this even getting basic health care into an area that's urban or less dense population, providers just aren't available or very limited. Go to, a rural area or less populated one and find just what called a hospital or general/emergency treatment source. So where is all that money going, should be the question. Afterall, just follow the money is a good logical route to take and see where it goes then some answers can be more reachable. -----Willy Happy

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I was listening to a newscast or program
by Diana Forum moderator / August 30, 2009 11:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Medicine as a business

don't ask - I've been moving my son back home today for three weeks when he's going to California.

It was about a company that had a high deductible health insurance. They had a health account that they could drawn on (I know ending a sentence with a preposition Rob). This meant that they shopped around for care. Their biggest complaint was that they couldn't find out how much it cost to get care. They would call the doctor and ask how much for vaccinations or whatever and they couldn't tell him for self-pay.

The gist of the story was that the price of every health care not covered by insurance is coming down while insurance covered health care is sky-rocketing.


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