I have posted about this a number of times in the past, seeing the trend as something that was more on the fringe. But now that trend has been accelerating and more physicians are going back to practicing medicine the way it used to be. One of the more recent defectors from the health insurance rat race is Dr. Michael Ciampi of South Portland, Maine.
Dr. Michael Ciampi took a step this spring that many of his fellow physicians would describe as radical.What most people don't realize is that doctors who accept health insurance as well as Medicare and Medicaid are severely restricted in regards how they can treat patients and how much time they can afford to spend with them. They have to constantly second guess the insurer or the government as to what treatments will and will not be covered. There's also a ton of paperwork that goes along with each patient seen. Most of that goes away once a doctor no longer accepts insurance.
The family physician stopped accepting all forms of health insurance. In early 2013, Ciampi sent a letter to his patients informing them that he would no longer accept any kind of health coverage, both private and government-sponsored. Given that he was now asking patients to pay for his services out of pocket, he posted his prices on the practice's website.
Before the switch, Ciampi had about 2,000 patients. He lost several hundred, he said. But the decision to do away with insurance allows Ciampi to practice medicine the way he sees fit, he said. Insurance companies no longer dictate how much he charges. He can offer discounts to patients struggling with their medical bills. He can make house calls.
“I’m freed up to do what I think is right for the patients,” Ciampi said. “If I’m providing them a service that they value, they can pay me, and we cut the insurance out as the middleman and cut out a lot of the expense.”
Reading the multitude of comments made about the linked article, most are supportive of the good doctor's move. But a few slam him because all he's going to do is “treat the rich”. It's obvious these same folks didn't bother to go to the doctor's website to check his prices. If they had they would have found that for many of the routine services he charges less than the co-pay required from many of the insurance companies. It's obvious they think all health care should be free, meaning they shouldn't have to pay anything for their own health care. It's also obvious that they don't understand that 'free' health care is the most expensive health care. As always, government is an inefficient organization and the larger a project the government takes on the more inefficient it is. With health care being almost a sixth of our economy, we cannot expect efficiency, quality, or quantity of service. What costs a private operation a dollar will cost a government run operation two, three, four, or more dollars. How does that save anyone any money? It certainly doesn't help the taxpayers, does it?
Is it any wonder cash-only and concierge medical practices are becoming more popular? Who needs the hassles present (and future) medical practices impose upon patients? As the effects of ObamaCare become more obvious I think we'll see a lot more doctors refusing to accept insurance and will accept cash, period. In the end I believe it will actually reduce the costs of health care.