Had my annual exam last week. I've had the same gynecologist for about 6 years now, and every year we have a very enjoyable conversation, even as she's poking and prodding me.
This time, as is not too unexpected, we discussed health care reform.
My doctor is frustrated. She actively avoids the news and reading or hearing about how it's going.
You see, she works for Kaiser, which is the nation's largest non-profit health plan. According to her, she has it great. According to her, she makes medical decisions based only on what makes sense for her patient, and she can't imagine being in a for-profit situation (especially in private practice) where you had to worry about whether your treatment plan will make you enough money.
It's not that Kaiser doesn't make revenues, they have huge revenues. They charge premiums and co-pays like any other health plan. But they don't have a fiduciary duty to make money for shareholders who have no vested interest in the health of their patients...who, in fact, have an interest in actions that occasionally sacrifice their patients' health in order to maximize profit.
I recently have been on a kick of saying that we should return to the not-so-distant pass when there weren't for-profit health insurance companies, with their bureaucrats making the calls on whether you can be covered for various procedures.
My doctor validated that fairly gut-based line of thinking this week.