Sunday, January 31, 2010

Market-Based Health Care Reform: Cash Only Family Practice, No Insurance, House Calls for $90

Dr. James Eelkema, a longtime ER doc, has set up a cash-only family practice in Burnsville, MN called Timewise Medical:

"If you are insured, under-insured, or uninsured, we can see you for any medical issue. Lack of insurance should not be a barrier to quality care. Our fees are reasonable and we ask for payment at the time of service with a valid credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover). We do not work with insurance companies, since their cost structure, rules and mandates can sometimes get in the way of a caring physician-patient relationship. Our overhead costs are kept low by not filing and tracking insurance claims, and we pass those savings on to you. You will receive a copy of the day’s note and a receipt which you may send to your insurance company to apply the charges toward your deductible."

Here's the price list, with office visits starting at $36 for one problem and $54 for two problems, a complete physical for $110, and house calls starting at $90.

Read a profile here in today's StarTribune.

MP: This approach sounds a lot more promising than 2,000 pages of government healthcare "reform," doesn't it?


At 2/01/2010 2:37 AM, Blogger Orlin said...

It would be great if he gave a discount for cash (instead of CC) of say, 3%.

At 2/01/2010 7:51 AM, Anonymous geoih said...

Twenty years ago, when I was uninsured and had a family, I never griped about the $30 it cost to see the doctor. I thought that was a pretty good deal. The bigger problem was paying for prescriptions. Today, most pharmacies have deals on prescriptions, especially antibiotics. I would think a family today could do quite fine with just a major medical insurance policy.

At 2/01/2010 9:40 AM, Blogger Dan S said...

Unfortunately, physicians office charges are not the only expenses one must bear in order to get healthcare in 2010. What does the doctor due when the patient needs an MRI or a CT on a high cost machine?

In regard to the larger issue of the free market in healthcare,
it's worth remembering that the role of markets is to ration scarce goods. If scarcity is not to be tolerated (ie, universal access is the goal) a market based mechanism simply won’t work. No market based approach will ever get us close to universal insurance coverage, because the costs are simply too high and the markets will function to price out those without resources.

Free markets are useful tools. They are should not be objects of religious veneration.

Daniel J. Stone, MD

At 2/01/2010 10:00 AM, Anonymous Mike Harris, MD said...

A free market in medicine would fix almost all of the problems. MRIs, surgery and hospitalization would cost less and be more available if the bureaucracy would lifted and providers competed for patients. Medical care is not a right, but simply a service for hire. If there were open competition, cost would go down and quality up. See for more.

At 2/01/2010 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if I want to see a Chinese herbalist instead of an M.D.? If the government wants to provide conventional health care, let it set up free clinics in poor neighborhoods. I refuse to buy into a system that forces me to go to an AMA monopoly MD or buy drugs produced by big Pharma. "2000" pages is just a Rethuglican canard talking point. Cut it out.

At 2/01/2010 10:16 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...

ahhh, the good old "pay for service" model.

works every time.

At 2/01/2010 1:29 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

"If scarcity is not to be tolerated" Interesting comment Dr. Stone. The problem is that medical care is a scarce good. There's only so many doctors. There's only so much medicine.

In my mind that's like saying "If death is not to be tolerated."

I'm not saying it doesn't suck, but it's the real world.

At 2/02/2010 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once the democrats succeed they will make this illegal.

At 2/02/2010 7:35 AM, Anonymous geoih said...

Quote from Dan S: "If scarcity is not to be tolerated (ie, universal access is the goal) a market based mechanism simply won’t work."

I agree with misterjosh. You can't make something less scarce simply by wishing it were so. You might as well declare no more toleration for gravity and entropy.

There is an amazing amount of ignorance in the world about the laws of economics. As long as people continue to think they can just change reality by simply wishing for it, we will continue to experience the silly things we see today.

At 2/04/2010 12:43 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The price list is great. Normally we never know the cost of a test or an office visit. Why do I hesitate to ask "Why?" or "How much?" I got a kick out of this fun, short video. Check it out.


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