Dear Doctors


Dear doctors

Look, I understand that you are angry about the proposed changes to Regulation 8 of the Medical Schemes Act.  If I was in your position I would also be angry at what I perceive as a threat to my business (and my lifestyle).


While I support your assertion that healthcare practitioners should be compensated fairly, your strategy of attacking the RPL as not having a scientific basis exposes you to charges of hypocrisy.  How does “whatever the doctor chooses to charge” have a scientific basis?  The fact that analyses of claims show how differently various specialist practices charge for the exact same thing (see some BHF conference presentations from previous years) proves that you have no real idea of the true costs either.  How about an acknowledgement that the status quo is problematic?

Secondly you should probably shut up a bit and listen to your legal council.  Don’t assume that because you are a doctor you know everything.  Go look things up so you won’t make a fool of yourself in public.  Accusing the Minister of Health of price fixing is stretching things a teensy bit.  Medicine prices are regulated through the Single Exit Price mechanism.  Is that price-fixing as well?  Governments can regulate prices.  Live with it.

Under the proposed Regulation you can still charge whatever you like, but now you will have to consider the consequences for yourself and your patient.  If you want to argue on such points you may rather want to join Genesis in its court case where it challenges the Minister’s right to make such regulation in the first place.  How ironic would that be?

This is a proposed change to regulations.

So how about everybody just calm the hell down and stop saying stupid idiotic things in the media.  Do you really think that sowing fear and confusion amongst the general public is going to help anything?  Exercise your right to submit comments on the proposed changes.  Do your homework and provide evidence to support your (rather dramatic and alarmist) assertions.

sisters-screaming-at-each-oMy biggest problem with the “debate” thus far is that the various stakeholders (and my friend Alex van den Heever) are basing all of their arguments on the rather strong assumption that the “opposing” stakeholders won’t budge from their position.  Commentators allege that medical schemes only want to pay the minimum that they are liable for and are happy to leave their members in the lurch.  Really?  How do you think that will work out for them?  Are we abandoning options that pay at more than 100% of scheme rate? Others allege that providers will not adjust their pricing at any cost, that “do no harm”  doesn’t apply to any aspects other than the clinical.   Everyone seems to be assuming that the Minister and DoH is married to this proposal and will not be willing to consider alternative proposals.

What nonsense!  Industries change (or get disrupted).  The players adapt.  Life goes on.

I expect better from all of you.  What I want to see is everybody (medical schemes, healthcare providers, patients, regulators and government) sitting down and finding a workable solution that is based on science and reason rather than armchair philosophy.

Remember that a compromise is a solution that satisfied no-one.


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