‘Direct care’ offers hope for our broken health care system

Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer  ·  Oct 30, 2017

As a general surgeon I see patients every day who’ve had batteries of preventive and screening tests that, after all is said and done, yield nothing more than increased spending and increased anxiety. Many doctors are unconcerned with the cost/benefit aspects of the treatments or tests they offer, and often abandon taking a detailed medical history and performing an extensive physical exam—instead they rely on costly imaging studies to do the heavy lifting.

I blame the third-party payer system.

The health care consumer pays only 10 percent of every health care dollar directly out of pocket.1 The third party—either an insurance company or Medicare—pays the rest. With Medicaid the government is the third party and pays 100 percent of every dollar.

Many of the cost drivers in health care today are symptoms of this third-party payer system. When somebody else is paying the bill, it’s easy for doctors and patients both to forget about the cost-effectiveness of medical diagnostics and treatments.

Read the rest of Dr. Singer's thoughts here.