Michael Cannon on the Future of Medicine: “So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades”
Earlier this year the Show-Me Institute had the pleasure of hosting Michael Cannon, the director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute and one of the intellectual architects of the King v. Burwell lawsuit, to speak on a variety of Obamacare-related health care issues here in Missouri. Since then, Cannon has written extensively on the future of health care, including an article for the Willamette Law Review called "Health Care’s Future Is So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades." You can find the entire piece here, and the whole thing is worth a read.
I want to pull out one paragraph, though, that touches a bit on a topic that I will be talking about at greater length in the days ahead: the re-personalization of medicine in America. In the future, according to Cannon,
Just about every health plan and provider network offers each patient a personal concierge who is equal parts counselor, clinician, and financial advisor. Your concierge helps you communicate with your medical team, helps you understand your treatment options, and even acts as a costsharing consultant. As a patient, you understand how much you’re going to pay before you choose a treatment plan.
In Cannon's telling, his futuristic "concierge" acts as a sort of hub connecting the spokes of a coordinated health care model, guiding patients through the process of finding and receiving quality health care. It's an interesting role that in contemporary times has been filled by primary care physicians (PCPs). Unfortunately, the supply of PCPs has stagnated over the last few decades—contributing to health care access problems and, likely, to the vision of a sort of "health care sherpa" that Cannon contemplates.
Does the future of health care have a non-doctor concierge at its center? Maybe . . . but maybe not. More on that soon.