The GOP plans is a big fail when it comes to supporting private physicians
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The irony as I continue to watch the zombie bill rise from the dead, crafted by a secretive panel without any input from those of us who are experts, is that I would benefit from its passage.

As a solo family medicine physician I have direct primary care as one of my offerings. Direct primary care is a contract between my patients and me for care — no middle man.

It avoids all the hassles that have come to make physicians lives miserable. So if the Better Care Reconciliation Act passes, and millions lose insurance, then I stand to gain DPC patients.

So for my bottom line, I should be in favor of this bill.

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However, contrary to some of the commenters on my previous pieces, I am not a heartless, profit-driven jerk. In fact, I make a lousy business woman. It is likely why I went into medicine — I really do care. I think most of my colleagues do too. As a whole, we are an altruistic bunch. Most of us remember why we chose medicine as a profession.

 

Do not judge us by the few exceptions.

Where costs of medical care have skyrocketed is not in individual physician offices. It is attached to technology in large entities, pharmaceuticals and devices. Where anyone can attach themselves to a physician they try to take a cut. Whether through billing, recordkeeping, electronic prescribing, office equipment, when the word "medical" is attached there is a premium.

Each mandate that Congress has placed upon us comes with a financial burden.

So yes, it is true, in my one-year old practice in Maine I have yet to take a salary. So before everyone starts going on about how great physicians have it, we have chat groups that talk about how to make it — do we need to moonlight how to get by etc.

Some have folded.

Doctors as employees are not as happy though. I know I was not. Patient complaints about how little time with physicians they get or seeing mid-levels (nurse practitioners or physician assistants) tend to be from larger entities where the physician is an employee. This also leads to more dependence on technology — more expensive care.

Quite the vicious cycle.

I am a believer in physician-owned, small practices. I believe in the personalized care. I also believe that healthcare is a right. I firmly believe that Congress needs to work with physicians and other stakeholders to solve issues rather than just cram a harmful bill through.

It is so disheartening to watch the current machinations. Much like watching a toddler have a tantrum, we have to wait it out and hope we can fix it later.

The majority of the country wants single-payer which would be the most fiscally conservative move. I have written about that previously. We would join the other industrialized nations if we moved to Medicare for all.

Short of that, we at least need to take the profit out and return to patients over politics.

Dr. Cathleen London is physician based in Maine who developed a cost-effective alternative to the standard EpiPen in response to skyrocketing prices. London has been an on-air contributor on Fox News and local television stations around the nation. Her healthcare innovations have been featured in the New York Times.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.