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The Front Lines Get Messy

There has been a rumbling under the surface for months as physicians quietly questioned the approach to managing the COVID-19 infection.

Beyond the staggering retraction of policymaking studies in Lancet & NEJM. Beyond the incoherent and inconsistent application of mitigation measures by politicians. Beyond pharmacies overriding physician clinical judgment. Things are coming to a head.

Host Dr. Scott Barbour will speak about America’s Frontline Doctors’ experience in DC. Not just the pressers and attacks, but what happened behind the scenes.

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How I Will Remember Herman Cain

Herman Cain was my friend.

Herman collected people. If you found your way into his world, you became part of his collection. There may be those who have had longer relationships with Herman, or more personal relationships or closer relationships, but if Herman took an interest in you, he made you feel as though you were as important to him as anyone else in his life.

My first encounter with Herman occurred in 2009 when he was a substitute radio host for Neal Boortz on his nationally syndicated radio show. Herman was especially interested in healthcare reform, with some crediting him with torpedoing Hillarycare during a scathing rebuke in a 1993 forum held by President Clinton. During the national Obamacare debate, Herman often devoted entire shows to this issue. As the founder of a national advocacy group, Docs 4 Patient Care, I found myself drawn into these on-air discussions. I became known to Herman as Dr. Hal, a name that stuck with me since that first phone call. I became a regular caller whenever he was on air and Herman often relied upon me for the kind of “inside baseball” information on healthcare issues, that a practicing physician with healthcare policy interests could provide.

Read the entire article at Townhall.

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Hoaxes Abound

Mis-information and mistakes in the middle of a crisis are to be expected. In the military, it’s commonly known as the “fog of war”. Great leaders make the tough calls and navigate through this fog to victory. For this pandemic, it has been something more. What happens when your own people exaggerate circumstances and repeatedly provide fraudulent data?

Host Dr. Scott Barbour examines the hoaxes surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic.

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How Direct Primary Care Empowers Patients and Lets Doctors Do Their Jobs

Hidden rates between insurance companies and hospitals keep patients in the dark, and a skewed “pay per procedure” system incentivizes unnecessary tests and treatments with costs that are passed down to patients.

These systemic issues are why I stopped using the traditional insurance-based family practice approach and invested $100,000 into researching and creating a more sustainable alternative. The result was Epiphany Health, a direct primary care practice, and better patient results for less money.

Direct primary care makes it easier to tailor treatments to each individual patient because the model incentivizes doctors to help patients prevent illness, rather than engage in costly and lengthy chronic disease management.

Doctors also have more freedom for telemedicine, home visits and other means of reaching patients in tough circumstances, such as overburdened single parents and seniors at risk for COVID-19. This provides better care for less money and fewer logistical hoops.

Under this model, doctors are rewarded for successful treatments, not just tests and procedures. This encourages doctors to follow through with ill patients until they fully recover, and discourages prescribing unnecessary treatments.

Read the full article at Inside Sources.

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Make Transparent Health Care Prices A Price Of Any Future Aid To The Health Care Industry

The country’s leaders are understandably focused on policies to help American businesses and workers deal with the ramifications of the coronavirus recession. In addition to broad-based relief, Congress has targeted aid to hospitals, health care providers, and clinical laboratories, despite their relative wealth. Two bills enacted in March provided a nearly $175 billion bailout for hospitals and providers.

On May 15, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would add another $100 billion to this bailout and provide substantial taxpayer funds to health insurers through a full subsidy for employee COBRA coverage, an increase in Affordable Care Act subsidies, and a provision that would largely offset any insurer losses in 2020 and 2021 with taxpayer money.

It’s time for Congress to stop focusing its efforts on supporting the wealthy health care and health insurance industries and it’s time for these industries to help American families and businesses and drop their fight against health care price transparency. This starts by equipping Americans—both families and employers—with tools to be better purchasers of health care. Specifically, Congress should lock in the Trump administration’s price transparency rules to end the legal battles over them and to give the American people the information they need to make smarter decisions about their health care and coverage. Enhanced shopping will increase competitive pressures in health care markets and lead to lower prices and enhanced quality of care.

Read the full article at Health Affairs.

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Physicians Praise New Rule Clarifying Patient Payments For Direct Primary Care Are Tax-Deductible

Proposed Rule Would End Discrimination Against Patients Who Pay Fixed Monthly Fees Directly to Doctors

Leading DPC physicians welcome ‘needed relief for primary care practices and businesses across the nation.’

[Washington, DC] [June 9, 2020] – Today the Treasury Department proposed a rule that would grant tax advantages to patients who pay fixed fees directly to doctors, following years of advocacy by the Docs4PatientCare Foundation, the only health care organization composed of practicing physicians with hands-on, practical knowledge of the American health care system.

If finalized, the rule would clarify that fixed-fee direct primary care (DPC) arrangements are 213(d) qualified medical expenses that can be paid out of tax-deferred medical accounts— including FSAs, HRAs and in certain situations HSAs.*

Dr. Lee Gross, president of the Docs4PatientCare Foundation (D4PCF), says the rule promises relief for patients and doctors fighting for survival.

“In a time where DPC practices have led the nation by example of how primary care can be efficiently delivered during a pandemic, the Trump administration has recognized that this is needed relief for primary care practices and businesses across the nation,” Gross said. “This change will allow better and more affordable access to primary care services, particularly in rural areas where critically needed.”

D4PCF has long battled tax discrimination introduced by Obama-era IRS officials against patients who pay low monthly fees directly to DPC practices for steeply discounted office visits, labs, tests, imaging, and specialist referrals.

Dr. Chad Savage, president of the affiliate organization DPC Action, says the long-overdue clarification will help DPC practices attract patients to a low-cost, high-value model quietly revolutionizing American health care.

“Today’s rule from the Treasury Department formalizes the executive order signed by President Trump regarding HSAs,” Savage said. “This vital rule will help to level the playing field by creating tax parity between insurance-based practices and the innovative model of primary care known as Direct Primary Care.”

By expanding the appeal of these high quality, cost-effective practices, the rule will also create an opportunity for insurance-based practices ravaged by COVID-19 to start anew in the DPC format.

“By providing a high-quality, cost-effective health care option, it will free up limited resources that can be used to facilitate economic recovery from the pandemic,” Savage said. “On behalf of DPC Action, I would like to earnestly thank President Trump and the Trump administration for their tireless work in support of America’s patients, businesses and physicians.”

Gross thanked several Trump administration members whom D4PCF has spoken with for months about the proposed rule.

“The Trump administration has taken a huge step forward in clarifying a decade-long uncertainty around the tax treatment of direct primary care memberships,” Gross said. “We wish to thank the President and the administration, particularly the National Economic Council. We would like to acknowledge the efforts of the Treasury Department, especially Secretary Mnuchin, Assistant Secretary Kautter, and the Internal Revenue Service. We greatly appreciate the steadfast support of the Health and Human Services Department, especially Secretary Azar and Deputy Secretary Hargan.”

D4PCF has urged the Trump administration to issue the clarification for years, including via an eight-page letter critiquing inconsistent guidance from the IRS on the tax treatment of DPC practices.

The proposed rule could have gone further towards tax parity of DPC, a matter D4PCF and DPC Action will address with the administration during the comment period.

* Flexible spending accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, and health savings accounts

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The shocking reason hospitals keep their prices a secret from you

Congress has provided hospitals with nearly $200 billion of our hard-earned tax dollars to help them weather the coronavirus pandemic. House Democrats just passed a bill adding another $100 billion. Now it’s time to stop bailing out hospitals and start helping financially stressed families get better health care at lower costs.

In health care, most prices are hidden. Earlier this month, big, profitable hospital systems were in court to make sure that American patients remain in the dark, challenging a Trump administration rule that would require them to publicize prices, including those negotiated with insurance companies.

No other industry is fighting to hide prices from consumers. When given pricing information, people know how to shop for value. With websites like Amazon and Kayak, Americans use price information to secure the best deals. This forces providers to compete by lowering prices and improving quality. Health-care markets don’t work like this.

Read the full article at the New York Post

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This Pandemic Shows Why Socialism Always Fails

In the midst of the coronavirus crisis that has ushered more control into the government’s hands at the expense of individual decision-making, we are learning why socialism has failed—and always will.

Apologists for socialism and communism claim that real socialism has never been tried. That is, the failures of the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, and others were due to bad leadership instead of bad political philosophy. But an egalitarian society where leaders and elites resist enriching themselves at the expense of others is impossible. And the actions of our elites during this pandemic prove the point.

As COVID-19 has temporarily stripped Americans of many of our cherished liberties, giving us a temporary taste of socialism’s sour fruit, we are learning how elites would behave if these restrictions became permanent.

Many who have championed the quarantine are flagrantly violating it. Two elites infected by COVID-19, George Stephanopoulos and Chris Cuomo, flouted rules that the rest of us are supposed to follow. Stephanopoulos went on a mask-less walk, breaking his required self-isolation. Cuomo, instead of being quarantined in his basement as he claimed on CNN, traveled to inspect his second home—which was under construction. He even got into a confrontation with a passing bicyclist while he was sick.

Read the full article at RedState

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Coronavirus shutdown highlights need for health care reform

The U.S. health care system was broken and expensive before the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) says.

And now, “COVID-19 has exacerbated the brokenness and lack of affordability in healthcare,” David Balat, director of health care initiatives at the TPPF, told The Center Square.

Before Gov. Greg Abbott took steps to close businesses deemed nonessential and suspend elective surgeries to ensure enough hospital beds remained open to treat COVID patients, Balat and several legislators proposed reform measures.

“Texans are largely frustrated by the way we pay for and deliver health care services,” Balat said. “Costs are skyrocketing, people are paying tens of thousands of dollars before coverage kicks in, insurance companies are failing patients, and too many communities are seeing their medical providers close up shop.”

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