Saw this on Slate.com this morning:
“You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I'll paint your house. I mean, that's the old days of what people would do to get health care with your doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people. I'm not backing down from that system.”
— Sue Lowden, U.S. Senate candidate in Nevada
Yeah. I'd like to go back to that health care system. I'll start raising chickens in my backyard so I can make a payment. Seriously, though, I assume she's talking about the method where we pay doctors in cash, for services rendered up front, rather than going through insurance companies.
That works up to a point (I've received cash discounts on some care), but with today's medical technology and what things cost right now, just dropping everyone back into a system where we pay up front would be likely to decrease, rather than increase, the access to affordable health care. I doubt there's a hospital out there that will allow you to paint the outside in lieu of paying for heart surgery.
And about doctors being sympathetic? Most of them probably are. However, they are also businesspeople. If they aren't making a profit, it is difficult for them to continue offering good care with state of the art equipment. The guys you see offering free clinics and traveling to poverty stricken nations have been going for years and amassing enough money that they can afford to provide such services.
It's bad enough that we have a health care system that doesn't measure up with the rest of the developed world. Do we really want to revert to a system that is on par with third world countries?