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The concierge doctor is a relatively small but growing practice aimed at cutting out the middle man and delivering medicine directly to the patient…for a price.  Meanwhile, the number of doctors going into family practice has dropped dramatically, even though healthcare analysts say general practitioners are essential as the backbone of an efficient and accessible national healthcare system. On this rebroadcast of today's To the Point, guest host Judy Muller examines the disparity and wonders what Ted Kennedy would have thought. Also, the Dalai Lama’s upcoming visit to Taiwan provokes China, and today marks the 150th anniversary of the first time man struck oil. What did that gusher usher in for our world?

Banner image: Dr. Hank Lawson treats a patient on Royal Pains

Making News Dalai Lama's Upcoming Visit to Taiwan Provokes China 7 MIN, 35 SEC

Ma Ying-jeou said today that he'll allow the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan, to comfort the victims of a recent typhoon. While the Taiwanese President describes the visit as a spiritual one, China sees it as a political provocation. The Chinese government has sharply criticized the Dalai Lama, accusing him of fomenting independence for Tibet. The uproar over his planned visit comes at a time when Taiwanese-Chinese relations had been improving. Robert Barnett is Director of the Modern Tibetan Studies program at Columbia University.

Robert Barnett, Director of Modern Tibetan Studies, Columbia University (@robbiebarnett)

Main Topic Concierge Doctors: Primary Care and the Well-to-Do 33 MIN, 25 SEC

Today, millions of Americans still can't afford healthcare, as witnessed recently by the long lines of people hoping to see a doctor or dentist at the Los Angeles Forum, care provided by a group that usually caters to needy people in Third World countries. Meantime, doctors for the rich and famous are a growing business. The death of Michael Jackson has cast a spotlight on so called “concierge doctors.” There are an estimated 5000 boutique doctors in the country, a practice popularized by the summer  TV hit Royal Pains, which features the fictional Dr. Hank Lawson who treats rich patients in the Hamptons and then uses the proceeds to treat the poor. We talk about the rise in private physicians, the significant decline in the numbers of primary care doctors and its impact on the nation’s well-being.

Cheryl BryantBruce, MD, Concierge Doctor, Elite Personal Physician Services
Vance Harris, MD, Family practice physician
Stephanie Woolhandler, City University of New York (@swoolhandler)
Steven D. Knope, MD, Board-certified Internist

Concierge Medicine

Steven D. Knope, MD

Reporter's Notebook 150 Years of Oil 8 MIN, 55 SEC

prize.jpgBack in 1850, a group of investors in Connecticut and New York had an idea. Perhaps some of that oil oozing out of the ground in Pennsylvania could be used as a fuel, one that could replace whale oil, which was in short supply. They hired a retired railroad conductor with nothing better to do and asked him to try drilling for oil the way people drilled for water. Edwin Drake surprised everyone, including himself, when he struck oil. Daniel Yergin has written about the first oil strike, 150 years ago this week, and its consequences in The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power.

Daniel Yergin, IHS Inc. (@DanielYergin)

The Prize

Daniel Yergin

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