Over at Trusted.MD, Philippa Kennealy has an interesting article on the burgeoning [ed: what's with that word?!] world of neighborhood retail clinics. These are more than Urgent Care Centers, less than hospital ER's, and often boast more hours than one's family physician. Dr Kennealy quotes from an article she found online, which posited that "when you talk about customer convenience, these clinics have it all over your doctor's office." That author goes on to castigate the AMA for attempting to legislate such establishments away; the theory, one supposes, is that the "medical establishment" feels threatened.
Perhaps they're justified in feeling that way, but I suspect that such legislation, if it ever does come to pass, is akin to putting the toothpaste back in the tube. These kinds of providers are popping up all over the place: not just in the neighborhood strip mall, but in WalMarts and other retailers, as well.
Abraham Lincoln once famously suggested that one should keep one's friends close, and one's enemies [ed: or perceived enemies] closer. Seems to me that "regular docs" could take a page from the upstarts, and begin to assess their own business models. This may well have the effect of reducing the cost of medical care, without a lot of unnecessary (and burdensome, and expensive; the list goes on) government intervention.