Physician Outlook

United We Stand, Divided We Falter

Imagine health reform where more physicians were free to practice the kind of medicine that actually meets patients’ needs.

What would you think about health reform that 1) lowered your insurance premiums, 2) gave you more choices in terms of the type of plan you could select for yourself and for your family members, 3) made premiums you pay for health insurance tax deductible, 4) lowered your cost for prescription drugs, 5) mandated price transparency and 6) did not exclude you or price gouge you if you or a family member have a pre-existing condition?


What if that health reform eliminated surprise billing for patients BUT did so in a way that didn’t threaten the livelihood of physicians (especially our Emergency Room and Anesthesiologists and other specialist colleagues who cannot afford to give any more control over the services they provide to insurance companies, hospital systems and private equity groups)?


What if that health reform stripped away the secrecy and Safe Harbor protections afforded to the powerful, medical Mafia-like middlemen (the Pharmacy Benefits Managers and Group Purchasing Organizations) that currently control our healthcare dollars?


Although physicians are often blamed as the culprit for high healthcare costs, the truth is that physicians account for only 11% of every healthcare dollar spent in the United States. Increasingly physicians have been forced into hospital-employed models because insurance companies reimburse so little for their services that independent physicians can no longer afford to own and operate their own practices.


Over the last decade and a half physicians have become more and more disillusioned with the practice of medicine. Many are depressed, some commit suicide and many have left or are contemplating leaving medicine for non-clinical careers. Non physician providers (NPPs) are being used to replace physicians while we are left “holding the proverbial bag” and all of the liability.


It is inspiring to discover, however, that there are still physicians like Dr. Alissa Zingman. She and others like her have an unrelenting passion for fostering and developing a strong bond between physician and patient, and she does so using a team-based approach. In her practice (which specializes in the treatment of hypermobility syndromes) she uniquely “embeds” physical and muscle activation therapy into almost every encounter. Her patients travel great distances to see her, and she maintains a relationship with them via telemedicine and by coordinating care with their own primary care physicians when needed. Dr. Zingman is non-participating with all insurances, and provides all of these services under a very reasonable published fee-for-service pricing schedule.


Imagine health reform where more physicians were free to practice the kind of medicine that actually meets patients’ needs.


Imagine health reform that gives patients from ALL socioeconomic backgrounds flexibility with their health plan and insurance coverage. Reform that allows the patient (not the insurance carrier) to decide if they want care “in” or “out” of network. I see a future that is bright for physicians and patients, one filled with a renewed commitment to personalized, bureaucracy-free care that respects physician autonomy while simultaneously keeping costs down and choices abundant for patients.


We physicians need to unite and use our education, our medical licenses and our ethical integrity as the invaluable commodities they are. We have to reclaim ownership of our value and professional identities and get back to doctoring.


As we approach the last quarter of 2020 and an important election, I urge each of you to take the time to understand the issues surrounding healthcare and to speak up for what we and our patients really need.


Most importantly, do not allow hatred and intolerance to permeate our profession. We need to remain united on issues we can agree on, and health reform is one of those rare issues that we can link arms on.


Exercise tolerance, revel in our shared humanity and call out behaviors and opinions that lead us down destructive divisive paths.


United we Stand.


Divided we Falter, and ultimately Fail. 

Leave a comment

You need to Login or Register

1 Comment

User picture

Maryanna Barrett

Yes to everything you said in this article. Where do I sign up?! There is an organization called Free Market Medical Association (FMMA) that is leading the movement of which you speak. I suspect there are others as well. It is my personal goal to leave the insurance-dependent healthcare system as soon as possible. It will require some changes to my practice, but the biggest change required is mindset. We are skilled craftsman without which these bully middle-men cannot build their empires and WE have to have the courage to say no more.

20 Mar, 2021