By Michael McGrady
Droves of doctors and free-market health care experts are once again preparing to descend on the annual direct primary care (DPC) conference hosted by the Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation in Orlando, Florida, on November 14-16, 2019.
Last year’s conference drew a record 370 attendees to the gathering at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando. The conference promotes DPC as an innovative direct-pay health care model as a doctor- and patient-friendly alternative to the United States’ insurance-based health care system.
Grace-Marie Turner, founder and president of the Galen Institute, a free-market think tank based in Washington, D.C., gave one of the 2018 conference’s two keynote addresses.
Turner delivered her address, “Understanding the Legislative Landscape for Health Care in Washington, D.C.,” to a packed house that included doctors and other health care professionals, some of whom received continuing medical education credit for Turner’s talk.
Turner argued the direct primary care model can improve the current state of the U.S. health care system, a key theme of the D4PCF conference, titled “Direct Primary Care 2018: Nuts and Bolts to 2.0.”
Turner said direct-payment models, as opposed to a single-payer approach, are the surest way to reduce the costs of care. The best health care solution is a “coordinated approach between a doctor and the patient,” Turner said in a section of her speech concerning DPC.
DPC practices charge patients a flat monthly fee in exchange for routine primary care services, often including labs, tests, and unlimited office visits.
Out of Insurance
The DPC movement has grown substantially while health insurance premiums have skyrocketed and insurance networks have shrunk since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.
“The networks are getting narrower and narrower,” Turner said.
Turner praised efforts by free-market health care advocates, including the Galen Institute, and of Trump administration officials to make health care and insurance plans more accessible and affordable. She applauded the Trump administration’s expansion of bridge coverage plans and association health insurance plans, as well as its the continued push to reform regulations governing the interstate sale of insurance.
‘Medicare for All’ Myth
Turner denounced a proposal known as Medicare for All, a model that has been supported by hundreds of Democrats in Congress and among state legislators. Estimated to be a $32 trillion commitment over 10 years, one Medicare for All bill currently championed by congressional Democrats could lead to federally funded universal health insurance that would damage the quality of overall care delivery. The DPC movement should serve as the leading innovation to combat advocacy of universal health insurance, Turner argued.
‘Bridging the Divide’
Gregory Skochko, a doctor preparing to launch a DPC practice in Philadelphia and an audience member during Turner’s address, says Turner is closing a gap between medical practice and public policy.
“I love to hear from people like her who are bridging the divide between the clinical health care industry and players like us and the actual people making the policies that affect us,” Skochko 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 (email@example.com) 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.