Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Power of Choice

Evan Handler on being a bad patient, demonstrates the importance of choice, if not to the doctor then to the patient:
Doctors had told me that I would be endangering my care if I switched doctors, but that advice was criminal. Look, the only way to change things is through the marketplace. Recently I needed to have something in my mouth looked at. The doctor performed a biopsy without lidocaine -- just put a blade in my mouth and cut without telling me. I never went back, and I wrote him a three-page letter. You should leave a bad doctor, and if you have the energy, tell them why you left.
The ability to switch doctors would likely be severely dampened in a universal system. Stationary public goods (like schools) generally must be rationed according to geography.

The rest of the story is about how Handler spent his time in chemo trying to keep the hospital staff from killing him. A friend of mine who recovered from cancer about two years ago had a similar story, so it seems to still be a problem.

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