Cut Out the Medical Middlemen

Health-care policy is often portrayed as a fight between government and insurance companies. But one of the most effective cost-saving measures is to cut out both and allow patients to deal directly with doctors.

If Todd Gibbons from Poulsbo, Wash., has an aching shoulder or needs a physical, he can call and schedule an appointment on a day’s notice, maybe the same day. His physician is also available for phone consultations and even makes house calls. It all costs Mr. Gibbons $150 a month to cover his family of five.

Costs are so low and coverage so good because the Gibbons family goes to Vintage Direct Primary Care—a medical practice that treats patients for routine care and procedures for a monthly membership fee. Virtually every routine service—from electrocardiograms and pap smears to stitches and physicals—is included. There are no office-visit fees or copayments. All physician services and procedures offered at Vintage are covered, and all without the use of health insurance.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal


Benefits of in-house medication dispensing

Ever-rising drug costs are a huge problem for many Americans and a major reason for patient nonadherence to treatment recommendations.

In-house medication dispensing often can save patients money and improve medication adherence. Patients also report that they appreciate the convenience of in-house dispensing.

Forty-four states allow physicians to dispense medications directly to patients.  While each state has its own rules regarding physician registration and compliance, in general, the requirements are not excessively burdensome.

Where I practice in Florida, dispensing physicians must register with the Florida Board of Medicine and pay a $100 fee. Physicians must also follow basic safety methods to ensure proper storage of medication, accurate labeling, and patient counseling.

Read the full article at Medical Economics.


Direct care plans could alleviate problem of high deductible plans — if Congress would fix the law

Often, the most effective way to make a point is to tell a story. And that’s what NPR does in its new report on high-deductible health policies (HDHPs) that are keeping too many Americans out of their doctors’ offices.

Susan, who carries a gene that makes her predisposed to breast cancer, has one of those policies. The deductible of $6,000 meant that when she got her first MRI and a mammogram to screen for breast cancer, she paid $3,800 out of her own pocket. It cost so much in 2017 that she was forced to delay her screening in 2018.

She’s not alone; a new study shows that many American women are forced by high deductibles to delay detection and treatment of breast cancer. These aren’t women who are uninsured; they’re women who have health insurance policies fully compliant with the Affordable Care Act.

Read the full article at The Hill.


How Electronic Health Records Became An Absolute Fiasco

Recent surveys of doctors show a sharp rise in frustrated physicians. One study last year analyzed a nearly 10 percentage point increase in burnout from 2011 to 2014, and laid much of the blame for the increase on a single culprit: Electronic health records. Physicians now spend more time staring at computer screens than connecting with patients, and find the drudgery soul-crushing.

What prompted the rise in screen fatigue and physician burnout? Why, government, of course. A recent Fortune magazine expose, titled “Death by 1,000 Clicks,” analyzed the history behind federal involvement in electronic records. The article reveals how electronic health records not only have not met their promise, but have led to numerous unintended and harmful consequences for American’s physicians, and the whole health care market.

Read the full article at The Federalist.


How to Fix America’s Broken Health Care Payment Model

What happens when you pay a business to pay for a good or service on your behalf? It’s a legitimate question, as this type of transaction costs many Americans thousands of dollars every month in the form of health insurance payments and taxes paid to the government.

Although many people don’t realize it, deferring decision-making to third parties results in a loss of consumer power. So, when we allow health insurers and governments to control our health care system, we lose control of our health care.

Some people erroneously believe putting insurers and bureaucrats in charge of health care reduces costs. But research clearly shows costs rise when consumers don’t pay for their own health care. For many, paying third parties only feels like it results in cost savings, but the truth is, costs are simply obscured in a maze of premiums, taxes, payroll deferral, deductibles, and copayments. As a result, most people have no idea how much they actually spend each year on health care.

Read the full article at TownHall.


Physician shortage: The numbers keep climbing, now estimated at 122,000 by 2032

There’s no good news when it comes to predictions of a physician shortage.

The estimates continue to climb, as the country will see a shortage of up to nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032, according to a new report (PDF) from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

The demand for physicians will continue to grow faster than the supply, according to the new data published today by the AAMC.

The projected shortfall is similar to past projections, as the group last year said the physician shortage could hit 120,000 by 2030.

Read the full article at Fierce Healthcare


Should Your Organization Sell Health Care Subscriptions?

How many subscription memberships do you have? With very little thought, many come to mind—Netflix, HBO, Hello Fresh, Amazon Prime, Kindle Direct, and Consumer Reports to name a few. And the subscription market is expanding—bacon, clothing, shoes, beauty products, wine, and more. The subscription e-commerce market has grown by more than 100% a year over the past five years, with the largest players reaching $2.6 billion in sales (see The State Of The Subscription Economy, 2018).

Now, consider subscription health care, where consumers can pay a weekly, quarterly, or yearly fee to receive some type of health care services. These models give consumers a way to budget for specific health care costs and gives provider organizations a consistent, reoccurring stream of revenue. Subscription health care can take on many different forms to cover a variety of different services, including software, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, concierge care, and direct primary care (see Subscription Medicine: On-Demand Healthcare For Everyone and Digital Healthcare In A Subscription-Based Economy).

Let’s think more about direct primary care (DPC) models. These models provide consumers with access to primary care services for a flat fee—or as the American Academy of Family Physicians defines it, “a meaningful alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing, typically by charging patients a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee … [that] covers all or most primary care services including clinical and laboratory services, consultative services, care coordination, and comprehensive care management” (see The Direct Primary Care Model: How It Works).


Read the full article at Open Minds.


Central planning destroys health care innovation

I am a direct primary care (DPC) physician.  DPC doctors have determined ways to improve health care access, include telemedicine, and offer deeply discounted rates on medications, labs, and imaging for a low-cost monthly membership, similar in design and value to Costco.  If matched with appropriate health insurance coverage, DPC can save patients thousands of dollars annually compared to the current broken, highly inefficient system.

DPC is one of the most innovative areas of the current health care system for one reason: it is not part of the centrally controlled (socialized), government-managed system.  DPC doctors offer fantastic care, and they do so without the artificial restrictions imposed by governments and insurance companies, who exert significant power over the practice of medicine.

The freedom enjoyed by DPCs has provided them with the opportunity to innovate in creative ways to improve medical care and medical financing.  DPC doctors, along with free-market entrepreneurs, are competing to find solutions to the problems facing our health care system in ways the government/insurance-controlled system can’t or won’t.

Read the full article at American Thinker.


What I Learned About Medicare for All While on Vacation

Many millennials continue to support socialist policies, including Medicare for All, demonstrating their willingness to ignore history and the world around them. I suspect many millennials couldn’t even find Venezuela on a map, never mind explain why the country’s economy has collapsed into chaos.

However, recently I stumbled on a story that might make sense to many young Americans, and it involves one of their favorite annual events: spring break.

For my daughter’s senior year spring break trip, the group of students chose to go to an “all-inclusive” resort. The deal they purchased boasted all-you-can-eat dining and drinking, including alcohol. At first, it sounded like a great deal, but the feeling didn’t last long.

After we arrived, we discovered that despite the fact there were many dining facilities, only two served breakfast. At the buffet, I couldn’t even manage to chisel the French toast off the bottom of the serving pan — it had clearly been there for several days. At the coffee shop, a nice lady was glad to push the buttons on the espresso machine for visitors and hand them a still-frozen donut. We were happy to see her every morning, but we could have pushed the buttons and picked up the donuts ourselves.

Read the full article at The Western Journal


Britain’s Version Of ‘Medicare For All’ Is Struggling With Long Waits For Care

Nearly a quarter of a million British patients have been waiting more than six months to receive planned medical treatment from the National Health Service, according to a recent report from the Royal College of Surgeons. More than 36,000 have been in treatment queues for nine months or more.

Long waits for care are endemic to government-run, single-payer systems like the NHS. Yet some U.S. lawmakers want to import that model from across the pond. That would be a massive blunder.

Consider how long it takes to get care at the emergency room in Britain. Government data show that hospitals in England only saw 84.2% of patients within four hours in February. That’s well below the country’s goal of treating 95% of patients within four hours — a target the NHS hasn’t hit since 2015.


Read the full article on Forbes