Direct Primary Care Draws Convert from ‘Universal Care’ Camp

By Michael McGrady

 

A physician is launching a direct primary care (DPC) practice as an antidote to government-run universal health insurance model he once supported.

 

Dr. Adil Manzoor, a former Air Force officer from Newark, New Jersey, plans to start up a DPC practice near his old neighborhood after he finishes his residency. To prepare for launch, Manzoor attended Direct Primary Care: Nuts and Bolts to 2.0, the flagship conference of Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation (D4PCF), held in Orlando, Florida in 2018. (Register now for the 2019 conference in Orlando on November 14-16.)

 

D4PCF’s annual conference is a mecca for DPC advocates, including physicians considering converting their insurance-based practices to the direct-pay model. DPC practices provide a range of preventive care services, typically including unlimited doctor visits and certain labs and tests, in exchange for a flat monthly cash payment of $50 to $150 per patient.

 

By design, the DPC model emphasizes free-market health care delivery. Unlike a single-payer system, direct-payment models promote price transparency and simplification of the payment process.

 

DPC eliminates the role of third-party payers (i.e., insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid) by allowing patients to contract directly with their health care providers. DPC is known to decrease care expenses by offering patients, as health care consumers, certain products and services at cost.

 

Manzoor was one of 370 attendees at this year’s D4PCF conference, which set a new attendance record.

 

From Newark to Norway

Manzoor says that before discovering DPC, he was long an advocate for government-sponsored universal health insurance.

 

“I actually went to Norway as a medical student to learn about their system in 2015,” Manzoor said. “I was reading that it was ranked 11th in the world in terms of providing care, and the U.S. at that time was 35th. So, I found a way to rotate into one of the five largest hospitals in the Scandinavian region.”

 

Although he enjoyed working his rotation in Norway, Manzoor started to realize the shortcomings of the single-payer system he had long admired.

 

“I didn’t understand the economics behind how systems work,” Manzoor said. “When I got into this residency world in this existing market, I started to burn out.”

 

Manzoor then noticed his quality of care decreasing due to the volume of work he was tasked with. He found the “care for all” mantra championed by universal health insurance establishment proponents was neither accurate nor effective. That’s when he grew interested in free-market economics and began studying Austrian-school economic theory in depth.

“I realized I didn’t want to be part of the system,” Manzoor said.

 

Crossroads

Like many doctors who become advocates for direct-pay models, Manzoor faced a crossroads. For Manzoor, the choice was between continuing to practice medicine or parlay his newfound interests in free markets into business school. Luckily, he discovered the DPC model.

 

“The more I learned about DPC, it completely opened up the whole world of free markets and the whole world of competition,” Manzoor said. “The concept of universal health care and ‘Medicare for All’ is going to drive our economy down the drain.”

Manzoor is now working toward completing his residency and plans to launch his own DPC practice in the coming years. He has already formed a limited liability company and has filed for intellectual property certification in preparation for opening his dream practice.

 

Practice Makes Perfect

To Manzoor, the ideal practice is one that keeps costs low for patients while meeting their most important needs. He has lined up his first business partner: his wife, Diana Luria. Luria is also a physician, specializing in family medicine.

 

“We’re going to build together a holistic direct primary care practice that focuses very heavily on cost control for our patients,” Manzoor said.

 

The Manzoor practice will serve patients in need near Manzoor’s stomping grounds, if all goes to plan.

 

“I grew up in a very underserved area in Newark, so, my goal is to figure out how to launch our practice in Newark,” Manzoor said.

 

Register now for the 2019 DPC conference hosted by the Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando on November 14-16.

 

Michael McGrady (mmcgrady@mcgradypolicyresearch.org) is a free-market health care journalist. McGrady’s work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Examiner, Newsday, The Hill, Patient Daily, The Heartland Institute’s Health Care News, and others internationally.

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