What If American Medical Care Ran Air Travel

The American medical care system is often called one of the best in the world.  In some ways, it is a fair observation.  We have greater access to state of the art medical technology than almost any other nation.  Our doctors are skilled and well-trained.  Most communities have access to a hospital.  Major diseases and injuries are treated well, although sometimes we have to travel to get to a specialty hospital or physician.  Oh, and sure, there are some conditions that are better treated in international hospitals, but we don’t really worry about that unless we have one of them.

What about the process we go through to access medical care?  Unfortunately, it’s often not so easy.  We call for an appointment and wait anywhere from days to weeks.  Each time we visit a medical provider, we are asked to fill out forms with the same information as if we’ve never done it before.  When we do see the doctor, he asks a few questions, checks a few things and may refer us to another doctor for whom we have to another few weeks.  We are sent to yet another place for tests, imaging or other diagnostic work, even though we may have just had the same test done last week, then back to the specialist again.  We try to manage the costs of medical care and the impact on out-of-pocket expenses with health insurance by asking about the costs of a procedure only to be told we don’t know because of your insurance coverage.

Have you ever wondered what it would look like if that same system existed in another industry?  Recently, we came across this piece adapted from an article by Jonathan Rauch that shows what might happen if air travel worked like American medical care.

Have you had similar medical care experiences?  What do you think will happen with the millions of newly insured people from the Affordable Care Act? We’d love to hear from you.

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