Doctoring Health Care Health Care Reform

Why is paying a doctor so different?

Doctors going to a cash only system of payment is steadily increasing, and these changes are garnering much attention.

Practicing medicine is a skill honed over many years of training and education.  Like any good or service, “doctoring,” has a value.  What this value is, has become a matter of much debate.   The payment for these services has evolved into a convoluted web, with monopoly-money-like charges submitted and third parties paying some widely disparate fraction of the bill.

What other economic system in society works like the healthcare system?  Lawyers, accountants, architects, barbers and so on, all get paid in the “normal” manner with a credit card, check or cash.

At the bottom of any invoice for a good or service is the “balance due.”  In real life, the balance due is usually the same as the sum of the charges.  In medicine, the balance due is some fraction of the charges and the formula varies widely.

Doctors employ many just to help navigate this web of confusion, and the navigation of this complex system is a source of much dissatisfaction by doctors and patients alike.

More and more though, many doctors are moving to the root canal system of payment –one in which payment is in cash, like everything else in society.

Right or wrong,  expect more doctors to move to this system.  In my medium sized pond, many good doctors have already done so.