Medicine is a profession. Economically, it’s sufficiently different from other marketplace transactions that it shouldn’t be run as a for-profit business. When I made that argument in a recent post, I mentioned: “The health care market is basically not price competitive – a patient contemplating brain surgery is not going to be tempted by a surgeon offering a deep discount.”
That may still be true of brain surgery, but it’s obviously not true of plastic surgery. Here’s an excerpt from a recent press release:
Though the recession is slowly lifting, desired cosmetic surgery is still out of reach for some. And with winter almost over, time is running short for those who want to receive plastic surgery in time for summer. That’s why Dr. Lapuerta of the Plastic Surgery Institute of Southeast Texas, sympathetic to both his patients’ time and finances, is offering a very special offer of $500 off the very popular surgery, tummy tucks.
Just to make sure you understand how sympathetic Dr. Lapuerta is, the release continues:
With cosmetic procedures slowly but surely on the rise, Dr. Lapuerta wants to ensure that those who desire the procedures are more able to attain it. He appreciates the present circumstances stating, “I know that a tummy tuck or any cosmetic surgery can seem out of reach of many. Even though the procedures are on a rise, a lot of people who want the surgery are unable to get it because of finances. I hope that offering this special deal will help.”
Guess he doesn’t offer financing. According to Laurie Essig’s American Plastic: Boob Jobs, Credit Cards, and the Quest for Perfection, 85% of cosmetic surgery is purchased on credit and over 70% of patients earn less than $60,000 a year.
The URL of Dr. Lapuerta’s website says “Look Younger.” This is one doctor who knows how important it is to have good marketing when you’re running a for-profit business.
From MD to MBA: The business of primary care
Imagine a future without cosmetic surgery
Feeling sorry for plastic surgeons
The death of Wang Bei: Cosmetic surgery as a moral choice
Character, personality, and cosmetic surgery
Bibi Aisha: Fixing what can be fixed
Image: Tummy Tuck Cost