Millionaire Medicine

Are you sick of corporatized health care about you, that doesn't care, sick of long waits to see a doctor who then spends only seven minutes with you, sick of paying more and getting less?

Well step right up, Bucko, because I've got a doctor who'll spend real time with you, and even make house calls! This personalized service, called "concierge care," is the largest trend in American medicine. The only catch is: you have to be rich. Rich enough to fork over $20,000 a year just for your primary care-specialists, lab work, and medicines are extra.

More and more general practitioners are abandoning the general public to cater to the wealthy. Associated Press reports that two Seattle doctors have shifted to practicing millionaire medicine, calling their venture MD2. Dr. Howard Maron says he got the idea when he noticed that "the wealthy and powerful have to sit in ER waiting rooms as if they are nobody-or an everybody." Apparently, the doctor's heart went out to these miserably-rich wretches, so he kissed off his non-rich patients and began kissing up to the hoity-toity. Now, instead of meeting the health needs of 4,000 people, as he did in his previous practice, his new pricey practice cares for fewer than 100. He notes happily that exclusively serving the wealthy also is making him wealthy.

The CEO of MD2 adds that doctors in today's medical marketplace can forget about meeting the needs of the riff-raff-"We just need enough millionaires to run our business," he explains airily. Dr. Maron insists that such health-care exclusivity is no different than operating an exclusive golf club. The general public is shut out, but so what? Send them to HMOs and the ER with all those other nobodies and everybodies.

This is Jim Hightower saying...Hey, doc, get a clue! Health care is not a golf game, it's a human necessity. Millionaire medicine destroys the essential ethical concept of "the common good," which is what holds us together as a democratic society. "Some physicians offering pricier but prompter health care"

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