Governor Doug Ducey has signed a law that will allow patients to order lab tests directly from a lab, without physician intermediation. It will be self pay: No government nor private health plan has to pay for the tests.
The legislation was backed by one of the most exciting diagnostic companies in the market: Theranos, founded by an incredibly entrepreneurial young billionaire, Elizabeth Holmes. The firm’s technology allows a battery of tests to be run on a single drop of blood, instead of the long draws we are used to undergoing.
Ms. Holmes’ business strategy necessitates disrupting the very staid world of clinical laboratories, which has been protected from innovation by the government-driven payment model. Instead of lobbying to get inside the model, Ms. Holmes lobbied to be exempt from the model. We need more people like that in health care.
This brings us to an interesting dispute between another billionaire, Mark Cuban, and the journalistic and medical establishment. Mr. Cuban advises everyone who can afford it to have his or her blood tested quarterly. His opponents say that’s overkill. Arizona’s new law makes their opposition obsolete.
Recall that the Obama Administration has issued a rule allowing anyone direct access to lab results. I was not quite comfortable with it because of a concern for federalism. I have no such concerns with this law.