Today, after spending a couple hours researching which Medicare plan I want to enroll in for 2014, I started wondering how doctors were paid in the 1800s.
That’s actually a question I’ve always wondered as whenever I see a movie or read a story set in the 1800s, even poor people are quick to call for the doctor when someone is ill without any discussion of if they could afford it. Obviously this was before insurance programs had been set up, so how was it that even poor people could afford medical care?
The answer to my question is that doctors of the 1800s were usually paid in-kind. The patient’s family would trade goods or services for the medical care he provided.
I’m still mulling this over, but I’m curious what you think. Could this kind of system work in today’s society?