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Dr. Zubin Damania, founder, Downtown Medical Center

Pauline Rosenau, professor, University of Texas Health Science Center

BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- Has the founder of Las Vegas’ Downtown Medical Center found a solution to the broken health care system? In the Medical Center’s model, instead of insurance, members will pay a monthly rate for primary care. This, he says, eliminates the fee-for-service system, which he says turns “very good people with good intent and ideals into bad actors in a bad system.”

Founding physician Dr. Zubin Damania says the Center’s focus on primary care is key. “Then all the other downstream stuff will fall into place. If you focus on prevention, the specialty care, the urgent care the ER visits – they all drop and they all fall into line.” Damania was recruited for the clinic by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

This is a great idea ... five years ago, says Professor Pauline Rosenau of the University of Texas Health Center.  She agrees with Damania’s focus on primary and preventative care, but with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, this clinic becomes redundant – why would users pay both for insurance and membership to a clinic?

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She also wonders, “Suppose there is a malpractice case? What happens to the person who is cared for by Zubin’s clinic?” Finally, she worries that the Clinic caters to an elite group. “Those who are very sick, the poor and the sickest, won’t have access.”

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