The NY Times had two interesting articles today on healthcare costs and healthcare delivery. You can access the articles for free for one week on the Times website. You may have to register, but it's free and easy.
The first article's headline Congress Weighs Big Cuts to Medicaid and Medicare - New York Times sounds scary, and then you find out that the "big cuts" include raising certain co-payments for Medicaid from $3 to $5 (that's three to five), and eliminating 10 billion dollars from the private insurers pig trough. Despite the absurd headline (designed, no doubt, to make Bush - font of all evil - look bad) the piece is quite worth reading.
The second article is on a small but growing trend for physicians to offer "concierge" care. For a Retainer, Lavish Care by 'Boutique Doctors' - New York Times For a yearly retainer, you have more ready access to your physician, the staff is nicer to you, amenities are better, etc. You see, with the extra money going to the Docs, they can afford to have fewer patients and spend more time with those who (can afford to) pay the retainer. And of course the article points out, by quoting Congressman Pete Stark, that "The danger is that if a large number of doctors choose to open up these types of practices, the health care system will become even more inequitable than it is today." An excellent and balanced article.
By the way, the meaning of the term "concierge" is changing. When I see the word, I still think of a guy sitting at a desk in a hotel lobby. But "concierge" seems to have gained a new meaning - as in this Times article - providing upscale service. In the financial services industry you see it more and more used. For example life insurers will send large premium applications (say $10,000 or more in annual premium) to there "concierge underwriting" team. The insurance broker writing the insurance gets quicker and better service.
An interesting development of the word, brought about by I don't know what.