“Boutique medicine” in the US: Doctors' groups must rally to preserve the US public's health

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7349.1335 (Published 01 June 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1335
  1. Laura Newman, medical journalist (newman@nasw.org)
  1. 425 West 57 Street, Suite 5E, New York, NY 10019-1762, USA
  2. Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA

    EDITOR—In Charatan's news piece on “boutique medicine” in the United States he sketched out a problem that is a symptom of a healthcare system in trouble.1 As a medical writer and observer of American health care, I would say that the problem is even more worrying than Charatan described. Now we have a system that is faltering not only for the uninsured and underinsured but for the fully insured too. I worry that this problem might go unrecognised unless research and advocacy embarrass Congress to intervene.

    Recently, a fully insured friend of mine was referred for a cardiology consultation. When he arrived at the doctor's surgery for a stress test he was told that the practice no longer took his insurance. He had his examination, as one last favour from the doctor, who warned him …

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