Consumer-driven health care is here to stay. Even if its coming of age has been somewhat lethargic, there's no denying each and every one of us will have to step forward and manage our own care—just as you would in any other consumer-vendor transaction.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

A couple of weeks back, right after I returned from my trip to Boston, I woke up with a stabbing chest pain. Later that morning, the family doctor told me in no uncertain terms to get out of my office and into the ER (sorry, Billy Ocean).

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