Monday, September 17, 2012

Dr. Keith Smith on Free Market Health Care

Dr. Keith Smith of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma was recently interviewed on "How the Market Can Cure the Health Care Crisis".

Three take-home points caught my attention:
1) By using price transparency and a "direct pay" business model, they can charge less than most hopsitals.

2) They don't take federal government money (e.g., Medicare), so their administrative costs are significantly lower.

3) The doctors working there have a powerful self-interested reason to maintain high-quality of care and not cut corners -- namely because their reputation and their economic viability are on the line.
(I wasn't as familiar with some of Dr. Smith's discussion about how hospitals and insurers "game the system" by overcharging patients with bills they don't ever expect to collect for tax purposes. His points seemed plausible, but I'd have to do more research to confirm them for myself.)

Many patients seeking high-quality affordable elective surgery are engaging in "medical tourism" overseas in countries like Costa Rica and India.  Dr. Smith's center could offer many of the advantages without the hassles of overseas travel -- basically a form of domestic "medical tourism".  In fact, Dr. Smith notes that Canadians already come to his center to avoid the long waits for surgeries under their "single payer" system.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Smith and the Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

(Video link via Dr. Megan Edison and Brian T.)