This would apply to everyone making 300% over poverty. And of this group, how many actually spend over 10% out of pocket on healthcare? A fraction. These stats are hard to find, but I’d wager that 80-85% of people could spend less than $5,000 per year on actual healthcare usage. If you make $50,000 a year as a family, you spend $5,000 out of your own pocket on healthcare before you give your case to some outside entity known for managing care badly. If you make $1 million a year, you spend $100,000.
A few things would happen:
- Doctors would want to be found by you. They would be advertising to you like opthalmologists advertise LASIK and plastic surgeons advertise breast implants.
- Many more doctors would go into primary care because they have the potential to make a decent salary and not be slaves to the insurance companies.
- Searching for tests and doctors would become transparent. If Quest didn’t publish their prices for a blood test and LabCorp did, the vast majority of people would choose the comfort of knowing ahead of time how much a test costs. Same for radiology.
- You could search for the real costs of anything you need.
- Patients would stop being kicked around like the link above shows. Patients would stop being a third party that stands in between the business relationships between insurance companies and physician groups.
- Healthcare would become a much more pleasurable experience like going to a spa, an acupuncturist, a veterinarian, or the Genius Bar at the Apple Store.
Ultimately, patients would be in control. The majority of people would have a pleasant healthcare experience that currently doesn’t exist today, much like buying an Apple at the Apple Store. And when you break, fixing yourself would be like going to the Genius Bar.
Critics will say that our nation’s health will suffer if patients have to pay for it. I’d say the main problem is then what healthcare offers. Does healthcare offer something people value as much as their TV, phones, computers, cars, and McMansions? If people don’t value something because they don’t see the value in it, they won’t pay for it. I personally wouldn’t pay for the shitty healthcare experience offered today either. I would pay for no waits, a solid relationship with a smart, friendly doctor that’s all wrapped up in an experience centered on my satisfaction. The fact that this is not offered stems from the historical insurance/doctor relationship.
Doctors need to take back the relationship. Patients need to demand a different relationship.
Healthcare will not change unless patients stop being pawns and become true consumers. Every time you demand “the best benefits” from your employer, you are prolonging your own misery and contributing to the sickness industry problem. You should be demanding the freedom to be a true consumer. You should be demanding the freedom to be treated well. You should be demanding a healthcare experience you value.