Your Crazy Uncle in the Waiting Room

Until relatively recently, we had simple fee-for-service medicine, like most everything else. The advantage to this simple, time-tested system is that you paid your doctor. And you were his client. He wasn’t working for anyone but you.

But in our modern era, we now have two “third parties” standing between us, our doctors, and access to medical care.

First, the health insurance companies. Their model of doing business is quite appropriate, useful, and necessary…for life insurance. And for casualty insurance, against losses from accidents of all kinds. But the insurance concept does not work well for healthcare. Yet, insurance companies have been on the inside of every healthcare “reform” plan from Hillarycare in the 1990’s to Obamacare today.

The other third party standing between you, your doctor, and access to healthcare is, of course, the government. For example, the government has long forced older Americans to forsake their own health insurance for Medicare when they turn 65. 

When we combine these two forces (in Obamacare), we now have the illegitimate child of an insurance-company “gold-digger” mother, and a government “absentee” father. In an article in The New York Times on July 2, 2012, Dr. Abigail Zuger describes Obamacare as providing cash subsidies for healthcare—but with strings attached.

To take the family analogy a step further, this new plan is like a rich uncle with potentially deep pockets but a troubled personality. Generous in one instance and stingy in the next.

But this uncle isn’t just going to sit patiently in the waiting room, flipping through a magazine. He’s going to barge right into the exam room and stand between you and your doctor.

No one should underestimate the intrusiveness of third parties into your healthcare.  These intrusions are rife with misunderstandings, and incalculable hours of wasted time by doctors. Dealing with the idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies of different plans that are more concerned with making a profit than with providing care.  

A great irony of our healthcare “system” is that the last bastion of traditional fee-for-service medicine is complementary and alternative medicine. The vast majority of these practitioners have refused to get involved in third-party insurance coverage. So, again, you pay your doctor (or acupuncturist,  massage therapist, naturopath, etc.) and your therapist works for you. Not the insurance company. Or the government.

The good news is, these “alternative” or natural practitioners offer safe and effective remedies for many common conditions. Without the dangers and side effects of many mainstream therapies. And at lower cost.

And, best of all, you can still hire your own doctor to take care of you. Instead of leaving yourself in the hands of your crazy “Uncle Sam.”