There’s a doctor in America who will treat you outside the labyrinth of medical insurance. He might do house visits. Depending on your age, he’ll ask for a monthly fee in the range of $39-79. Why does that sound good to me?
The doctor’s service is decently affordable for people who don’t have jobs or can’t pay for health care. When I heard this report on the news, I imagined Mark Feuerstein’s character in Royal Pains and Michael J. Fox in Doc Hollywood. But those aren’t mavericks. They’re more like Burt Lancaster’s town doctor in Field of Dreams. He’s got a small office in the middle of town. There’s a leather blotter on his desk and a skeleton in the corner. This is where he set up shop because his kids go to school in the same town. His family goes to barbeques, church and the parade on July 4th. Maybe he got tired of the nationwide medical complex. Maybe he lost his own job. Maybe he went back to his roots. Aren’t we better off having a “Doc” within easy reach?
The house doctor is an iconic piece of Americana, someone you can trust, and a figure that may keep us healthy in a future of faulty or murky insurance. From an urban perspective, the “street surgeon” is the country doctor’s counterpart. That term has implied a rogue practitioner with only a few years of med school under his belt, ready to patch someone up in a shady basement clinic, but that image can change. Cities need physicians who help the ill in affordable ways. . . and no matter how advanced we become in medical care, there will always be people who can’t afford it. Lest we forget, America’s medical care began with individual doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other experts in closely knit communities. That’s how it started, and that’s how it will continue.
We’re ready to welcome the street surgeon and the country doctor. They might work at a new-age clinic, which must be very different from a nationwide conglomerate or a biotech corridor. Tomorrow’s healers will be true servants, and they’ll be able to distinguish medical care from medical coverage.