Surprise, surprise: a large study just found that general physicals are basically useless. Is that going to stop doctors from recommending them?
I’ll leave that little pop quiz question unanswered, but note this:
When the graduate students at Cornell University received health care coverage as part of their compensation package (which happened to occur the year that I started as a graduate student at Cornell) that coverage did NOT include general physicals; coverage would only cover actual problems.
The moral of the story (and the news bit) is something like: asking doctors to control costs – something that Obamacare does – is putting the wolf in the hen house. It just won’t happen. These people want to make money; if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be doctors. And asking somebody else to do it – a panel of “experts” – is a “death panel” (call it whatever you want, but the fact will remain that somebody else will be making your health care decisions without your – or your doctor’s – input). The only way to make health care function like a real market is to treat health like a real market. Customers – patients – need to pay for the services they receive. Sure this can be tempered through whatever insurance policy you want, but the market can only be a market if customers are paying for the services they receive from the providers. Customers need to get the bill and need to be directly incentivized to reduce that bill as much as possible. (Doctors already do a good job on their end given their incentive to maximize the bill as much as possible.)