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Billionaires Can’t Fund Single-Payer, but Universal Coverage Is Possible Without Raising Taxes

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In February, House Democrats introduced a “Medicare for All” bill, which features more than 100 co-sponsors, despite the fact the plan’s supporters have absolutely no concrete plans to fund their massive expansion of government-sponsored health care coverage.

Just days before Democrats released their bill, Campus Reform’sLawrence Jones asked Californians how they propose funding Medicare for All. Unsurprisingly, a common refrain was that billionaires should be on the hook. One person even quipped that taking $1 million from every billionaire in the nation would work.

The suggestion that taxing the wealthy can pay for a massive single-payer health care scheme is commonly made, but it’s nothing less than a pipe dream. In fact, raising taxes on the highest-income earners to pay for universal health care coverage wouldn’t even put a dent in the total bill for Medicare for All.

Read the full article at Townhall

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The Case for Health Reimbursement Arrangements and DPC

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In October 2018, the U.S. Departments of the Treasury, Health and Human Services, and Labor issued a proposed regulation that would expand the usability of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). The proposed regulation was the final in a series of proposed rules in response to President Trump’s October 2017 Executive Order on “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition”. The Treasury Department estimates that 800,000 employers would take advantage of this change, empowering approximately 10 million American workers to have more consumer-driven healthcare choices.

The regulation, if finalized, will affect plans beginning January 1, 2020. The proposed regulation would allow employees to use HRAs to purchase individual coverage on a pre-tax basis. This gives an individual the same tax-preferred advantage as the business, while allowing them additional choices beyond the typical single health plan offering of the employer. In addition, the regulation would also allow employers offering traditional employer-sponsored coverage to offer an HRA of up to $1,800 per year to reimburse an employee for certain qualified medical expenses, including certain health plans.

Read the full article on Free Market Healthcare Solutions

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Right to health care gives gov’t power

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Every American should have access to quality, affordable health care.

This is not a controversial claim. Almost everyone, on the right and left of the political spectrum, can agree with this statement. However, recently it has become fashionable to proclaim that health care access isn’t just something we should strive for, it’s a human right. Unfortunately, those who oppose this statement have been branded as hateful and uncaring.

Before one reflexively endorses the notion that health care is a right, he or she should think carefully about the meaning of these words and their possible application.

A right is a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something. Under this definition of a “moral” right, universal access to health care is an ideal, and one we should all work for. As an ideal, it is neither controversial nor legally binding.

Read more on The Detroit News

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Badly designed electronic records can be hazardous to your health

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It isn’t easy to ruffle my friend of 30 years, one of the best gastroenterologists in Boston, a town known for top-notch medicine. But he was ruffled when he told the story of giving a patient anesthesia and performing a medically unnecessary procedure—only he hadn’t known it was unnecessary because the patient’s electronic health record, or EHR, didn’t function as promised.

If you’ve heard of EHRs, you know that many doctors consider them a pain in the neck. Not much is said, however, about the harm EHRs can cause to patients. There’s a reason for that: Gag clauses prevent EHR users from talking publicly about their specific problems.

At its core, the electronic health record is a great idea. The technology is intended to replace paper records in the interest of efficiency, quality and safety. For millennia, physicians have written notes to record what we see, think and do in the care of our patients. Those notes began to develop into primitive electronic medical records as early as the 1970s, but things changed dramatically during the Great Recession.

Read more on WSJ

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Direct primary care empowers doctors, patients

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Scores of doctors are taking a page from Netflix’s playbook and getting into the subscription business.

They’ve adopted a business model called “direct primary care,” whereby patients pay a periodic fee for access to primary care physicians. Since 2014, the number of direct primary care practices in America has grown more than six times over.

Doctors appreciate its simplicity; no longer do they have to fight with insurance companies over payment or getting a particular treatment approved. Patients, meanwhile, love its flexibility – they have essentially unlimited access to their doctors, sometimes for less than they’d spend with conventional insurance.

Direct primary care could inject some sanity into our health care system by relying on the same market forces that have resulted in higher-quality products at lower cost everywhere else in our economy.

 

Read more over on The Buffalo News

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DPC Physician meets with Senators and Congressman on HR6199

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Dr. James Pinckney II, ABFM of Diamond Physicians met with eight senators and two congressmen last week in an effort to reintroduce the Direct Primary Care Bill HR6199.

To further demonstrate the effectiveness of direct primary care, Michael Schneider, CEO of A-1 Locksmith DFW, accompanied the team. Together, they presented how a small blue-collar business was able to save 25% on their health benefits as a company while improving the care and health of their employees.

As this process progresses, it’s becoming increasingly likely that direct primary care membership will become a qualified medical expense under 213-D via executive order. This would allow for the bill to bypass congressional approval.

Upon passage, the bill would allow consumers to use HSA cards to pay for direct primary care membership.

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CON laws help hospitals, but they hurt patients

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In his recent State of the Union address, President Trump pointed out that although progress is being made on a variety of health care issues, health care costs are just too expensive for the average American.

One reason is this: Hospitals are the most expensive delivery point in the health care system, and ironically, an increasing amount of medical care is being directed there. Complicating this issue is that no one can be sure how much a hospital will charge.

Two patients can receive identical services and leave the hospital with vastly different bills. Furthermore, because of bizarre payments by insurance companies, care in the hospital can cost five to 10 times more than care by the same doctor in an outpatient setting not owned by the hospital.

Read the full article at Georgia Health News.

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Physician-dispensed generics proposal pitched to Senate panel

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What if doctors could not only prescribe drugs to their patients but also dispense them–no writing a prescription and sending it off the pharmacy? Not only would it be more convenient, it could be cheaper—a lot cheaper.

That’s the premise of a proposal put before the Senate health committee this week. Dr. Josh Umbehr, cofounder of Kansas-based Atlas MD, one such company providing generics directly to patients says it’s much cheaper than alternatives. In fact, Umbehr tells Modern Healthcare, “I’m cheaper than 340B.”

Umbehr related to the committee and chair Lamar Alexander, R-TN, that his practice, which he terms a “blue-collar concierge” direct primary care model that takes monthly membership fees from patients instead of accepting Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, has a cabinet stocking about $50,000 in medications. The markup on those 200 different medications? About 10 percent. And since he gets extremely low prices on generics, his patients save money.

 

Read the full article at BenefitsPro.

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Direct primary care physicians are not concierge doctors

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Across this country, DPC practices are filling an important niche by providing care for underserved patients. But rather than indenturing themselves to a government or corporate entity, physician-owners of DPC practices are providing care on their own terms, without bureaucratic headaches and red-tape frustrations.

Direct care cuts out third-party payers like Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies. Instead, patients pay the doctor directly, usually through a monthly fee, which averages $77 for DPC practices.

Because direct care doctors are not beholden to the insurance company, they spend less time on unnecessary documentation and more time on patients. And because doctors don’t have to spend a fortune trying to get paid by an insurer, they can often keep their overhead remarkably low, passing savings along to patients.

Affordable health care is critical — especially to those paying for medical care out-of-pocket – like the 28.5 million without insurance, and the increasing number of Americans with high-deductible plans.

 

Read the full article at KevinMD.com

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Direct Primary Care: Dr. Lee Gross on The Paradocs Podcast

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This week, Dr. Lee Gross went on The Paradocs Podcast to discuss why Direct Primary Care is the future of medicine.

“If there is one thing patients and doctors agree about when it comes to primary care it’s that it isn’t properly working for either one. Doctors have too little time to spend with patients, can only address one or two problems at a time, and spend most of the little face time they get staring at a computer screen than at their patient. Patients end up spending a lot of money on copays, laboratory studies, and visiting specialists because the doctor is unable to use his or her 22,000 hours of training on treating minor ailments.”

Listen to the full podcast below.

 

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