Phil Gausewitz, MD, recently focused on the problem of price controls in medicine. He argues that the imposition of price controls have devastated quality and innovation in medical care and makes a compelling case that removing them would open up a new era of patient centered care and restore the physician/patient relationship.
With the removal of the price controls we can expect that, in addition to saving the enormous administrative costs they cause, the devastating effects of the physician shortage will be relieved. Patient care services will improve significantly as physicians compete for patients on service and fees. Medicare patients will regain the right to protect their lives, which they are denied now, by being able to freely contract with physicians who require fees greater than the government allows, and we will be spared the ridiculous spectacle of the “doc fix”.
Shortages caused by price controls protect less effective doctors who now have busy practices regardless of the quality of their service. The exciting new developments in diagnostic and treatment procedures, equipment, immunology, informatics and genetics will be brought more efficiently to patient care, without being inhibited by burdensome and needless financial regulations. The relationships between physicians and patients will improve as patients choose physicians with whom they are comfortable.