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How Direct Primary Care shines a light during pandemic

In our previous piece, we discussed how the lack of price transparency in the American healthcare system has become an addictive painkiller — the “opiate of the masses.” Protection from the pain of prices that are hidden (opaque) dulls our thinking just enough so that we don’t get too worked up.

There’s a different model for the practice of medicine that is gaining increasing support among physicians and patients.

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a timely subject because physicians using this model are among the best equipped, best prepared, and most effective on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic.

Pennsylvania is the first state to begin educating the general public, business groups, and medical schools about this model, and the first state to receive a grant from its medical society for that purpose. But DPC practices are springing up all over the country, with general practitioners leading the way, although specialists have started to follow.

Read the full article at the Courier Times

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Beware Limitations of Freedom Imposed to Battle Coronavirus

The drastic measures elected and unelected officials are taking to stem coronavirus (COVID-19) contagion reached new heights when President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act on March 18, 2020. The Korean War–era law grants the executive branch emergency powers to require American companies to increase production to combat shortages. Meanwhile, at the state level, governors have prohibited people from making purchases by closing bars, restaurants, spas, and salons.

Officials speculate the pandemic may overwhelm our limited medical resources. But as long as their data remains woefully incomplete, we must remember Newton’s Third Law of Physics: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The draconian restrictions officials are imposing could spark an economic catastrophe more disruptive to American life than the coronavirus itself. So, officials should restrain themselves from depriving people of their freedom to transact unless or until irrefutably necessary.

Read the full article at TownHall

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We Have Never Been Closer to Free-Market Revolution in Health Care

It certainly doesn’t feel this way at times, but we have never been closer to a true free-market health care revolution than we are right now.

Thanks to an executive order (EO) signed by President Donald Trump, proposed legislation by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), and existing medical savings account law, we could be witnessing a free-market makeover of health care that delivers better care at lower prices.

Now, some may incorrectly think that we already have a free-market system in health care. This is clearly not the case, however, as centrally controlled pricing and extensive crony systems are rampant, shackling Americans with the most expensive and complex health care system in the world. Despite this dysfunction and the efforts of entrenched special interests, the United States is on the precipice of substantial reform.

Read the full article at The Epoch Times

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Socialism, Health Care, and Excuses to Steal Personal Liberty

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist, is one of two candidates remaining in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who recently dropped out of the Democratic race, is now spending a fortune trying to ensure President Donald Trump loses in November.

There’s a lot of talk about Bloomberg’s previous attempt at a soda ban and Bernie’s Medicare for All. But no one is talking about the insidious assumptions that animate these policies—or how they turn health care into a vehicle for stealing your personal liberty and implementing socialism.

Let’s back up a moment. In 2012, Bloomberg, then mayor of New York City, cited public health as he proposed limiting the size of soda that New Yorkers could purchase. In a country founded on freedom, this type of unprecedented government overreach directly conflicted with the liberties we enjoy in this country. So, how exactly did Bloomberg justify such an intrusion?

Read the Full Article at Townhall

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Disney Plus — for Health Care?

Over 10 million people have signed up for Disney Plus since it launched last year. It’s easy to understand why. The service gives subscribers access to hundreds of movies and television shows for just $7 a month — no cable plan required.

Imagine if we applied that model to health care. For a flat monthly fee, subscribers could get everything from flu shots to lab tests “on demand” — no expensive, cumbersome insurance plan required.

This model already exists. It’s called direct primary care — and Americans young and old, rich and poor alike are increasingly turning to it as a means of securing affordable, high-quality health care.

Under direct primary care, a patient pays a doctor a subscription-style fee in exchange for access to an array of services. Just a decade ago, there were only a handful of direct primary care practices scattered across the country. Today, over 1,000 serve around half a million people in 49 states.

Read the full article at The Desert Review

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Bye-bye health insurance: How direct primary care can save you money

Dr. Rebekah Bernard isn’t just a primary care doctor, she’s an entrepreneur.

Fed up with the healthcare system, she opened her own direct primary care practice in 2016 called Gulf Coast Direct Primary Care.

“Right now, they say doctors spend more time on paperwork than they do with patients. Direct primary care totally changes that,” Bernard says.

What is it?

Direct Primary Care is just as it sounds, direct. There’s no insurance company, no middleman, or government involved.

Patients pay the doctor a monthly fee, in this case around $75 bucks, for unlimited visits.

Read the full article at WINK News

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The Direct Primary Care Solution for America’s Health Care Woes

Austin — “the live music capital of the world” — is a lovably “weird” city and home to many musicians and artists. Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Townes Van Zandt, and Janis Joplin all called it home at one time or another. Great venues like Antone’s, the Broken Spoke, and Stubb’s kept the music scene alive for years, and as it continues to evolve, they serve as storied reminders of what has always made Austin great — a vibrant arts scene.

When I was in law school at the University of Texas, I remember rushing to buy the 2-CD KHYI set each year for the best music of the day. But I also recall that the proceeds from the sale of the set went to providing health insurance for artists. This was a way people in the arts community looked after one another.

Unfortunately, while the creative community remains alive in Austin, the rising cost of housing, driven both by demand and by property taxes, and the skyrocketing cost of health care are crushing many of the artists who live gig to gig and paycheck to paycheck. Since 2013, insurance premiums have gone up more than 60 percent across the board, while private-market premiums have doubled and even tripled. While Washington “leaders” dither and waste time, some creative doctors are using a fast-growing direct-primary-care (DPC) model that may well save the day.

Read the full article at National Review

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Policy Tip Sheet: States Should Expand Direct Primary Care to Help Expand Availability of Primary Care

One of the lesser-known factors driving skyrocketing health care costs throughout the country is the lack of primary care physicians. Indeed, many states are experiencing a severe shortage of primary care physicians. According to a 2018 report from United Health Group, 13 percent of American patients live in a county with a shortage of primary care physicians.

This shortage is exacerbated by the fact that many new physicians choose to practice specialty medicine instead of primary care. Although there are many reasons for this shift, the high costs and logistical challenges inherent in primary care medicine are major contributing factors. According to the American Journal of Medicine, the percentage of American primary care physicians decreased from 50 percent in 1961 to 33 percent in 2015. The United Health study also found that only 288,000 out of 869,000 physicians conduct primary care services.

Unfortunately, this problem is likely to become worse before it becomes better. The United Health Group study estimates that by 2030 there will only be 306,000 primary care providers in the nation. Additionally, by 2032, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will increase by 48 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This, along with several other factors, will magnify the need for primary care doctors.

Read The Full Article at Heartland Institute

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The Advantage of Paying for Medical Care Directly

According to a PBS health report about a retiree on a Medicare Advantage plan, Z. Ming Ma was issued a prescription from her physician that cost $285 for a 90-day supply. “A month later,” the article says, “Ma and his wife were about to leave on another trip, and Ma needed to stock up on her medication.”

But her 90 days weren’t up, so Anthem wouldn’t cover it. “Ma asked the pharmacist how much it would cost if she got the prescription there and paid out of pocket,” the article says.

The total cash price was about $40.

This is not uncommon. In fact, a study from USC demonstrated that nearly 25 percent of all prescriptions filled at the pharmacy cost the insurer less than what the patient paid in a copay. Yes, that means paying cash is more affordable than using your insurance card.

 

Read the Full Article at The Hill

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More Patients Turning to ‘Direct Primary Care’

Having quick access to a primary care doctor 24/7 is very appealing to Mick Lowderman, 56, who is married with two children, ages 10 and 8. He pays a monthly membership fee to AtlasMD, a direct primary care practice in Wichita, KS.

“It’s awesome that I can call or text Dr. Josh Umbehr when my children are sick and that I have a solution before they leave for school,” he says.

For example, when one child woke up coughing recently, Mick and his wife, Jennifer, contacted ‘Dr. Josh,’ who asked them to put her on the phone to hear her cough and then take a picture of her throat and text it to him.

“He prescribed an antibiotic, which we picked up at his office the same day.”

 

Read the Full Article at WebMD

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