Leading policy-makers and scholars explain how market forces, deregulation, and consumer choice can work to improve health care for all Americans.


Health Advisors
Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute, 3-24-06

Turner writes that one frequent criticism of consumer-driven health care is that medical decisions are too complex to leave to consumers. Turner responds saying that, as in other complex markets (i.e., IRAs) intermediaries will spring up, helping patients find the best combinations of cost and quality.

Today, when people are seriously ill or have a child with multiple medical needs, they find they must become actively involved in informing themselves about the nature of the illness and about treatment options. They rely on their doctors of course, but also on information from disease groups, from real and virtual discussion groups, and on research from medical libraries and trusted websites, to become experts themselves.

Also, many people seek the security of having expert advice available through "concierge medicine." Here, people agree to pay a physician a fixed fee for ready access to appointments, attention to wellness care, help in locating specialists, and expert advice in the event of a medical problem.

Millions—tens of millions—of people would like to have that kind of access, but so far only a small number do. Yet this kind of trusted expert health adviser will be an emerging force in the new world of consumer-directed health care—trusted agents that people will call on for routine health care advice and for help in making complex medical decisions. …New companies will allow millions of people to get information that is clear and understandable, and even provide access to one-on-one consultations.

Turner's point is a simple, but powerful one: where there is a consumer demand for a product, in this case reliable healthcare advice, entrepreneurs will find a way to fill the void.

Project FDA.
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