Monday, March 17, 2008

Fast Lanes and Concierge Docs for Rich

Corporations work hand in hand with the Bush administration on "innovation" in health care and transportation. The Washington Post reported on the Transportation Department's list of industry insiders driving privatization of American roads. I noted D.J. Gribben's appointment a year ago.

And what better time to introduce a new commuting expense of tolls than during a likely recession? One might expect the high cost of gas to induce behavior change. Who wants to waste that $4 a gallon gas not moving? Did the Bush transportation economists factor that into their model?

In healthcare, a different trend is sweeping the country. MDVIP, a corporation, works with doctors in offering concierge medicine. The concept involves lavish, high quality, immediate access to primary care at premium prices. A normal primary care doctor has 2,500 patients in his or her practice. At MDVIP the number is slashed to 600 patients, leaving the unlucky 1,900 with the challenge of finding a new primary care physician. But the benefits are large to the doctor and the patient who can afford the dues of $1,500 to $1,800 a year.

Guess who's helping MDVIP study the impact of preventive care on national health expenditures? That would be ex-Health and Human Services Chief Tommy Thompson. Did Tommy get any stock in the company for leading the study? The press release failed to mention compensation. My guess is Mr. Thompson expected some form of compensation, given his role in other innovative health care ventures, ranging from medical readiness/homeland security solutions to implantable medical chips.

Welcome to the United States of America, where access to the fastest commute and best healthcare are sold for premium prices. Hail the profit makers and the Bush government who greases their skids! Grab your bootstraps boys and girls, it's gonna be some ride, especially for those without the strength to pull themselves up...