by G. Keith Smith MD
Riding in to rescue the victims of Obamacare and other government healthcare schemes are guess who? The legislators? The regulators? Don’t make me laugh. It is the growing group of healthcare free marketeers. The celebration following the receipt of an Obamacare insurance card or qualifying for Medicaid is short-lived once patients realize that “coverage doesn’t mean care,” as my friend Dr. Jane Orient has famously said.
Leading the way on the primary care front are Atlas MD (http://atlas.md/wichita/), Epiphany Health (http://www.epiphanyhealth.net/) and Medlion (http://www.medlion.com/). I apologize if I have left anyone out and this is likely as more are entering this space even as I write this. These are all primary care subscription programs where a patient or family pays a small amount each month to cover their primary care needs. When I say small, I mean less than what it costs to administer Medicaid primary care needs, or as my friend, Dr. Lee Gross (founder of Epiphany) has said, “…less than a cell phone bill each month.”
Take a look at the above websites for a glimpse at what the subscription fee includes. Keep in mind also that self-funded businesses are increasingly intrigued with this concept of primary care delivery for what it doesn’t provide: entrance and exposure to the overpriced world of hospital employed physicians and specialists and care at their bosses’ establishments.
What is the reaction of the healthcare industry to the efficient, fairly priced and high quality solution to the delivery of primary care? Bribed bureaucrats and legislators as a favor to their corporate pals want to regulate them out of business, treating them as “insurance.” Several states (kudos to them) have passed laws specifically designating Direct Primary Care (DPC) practices as immune to such destructive regulatory attempts. The absence of such crony-limiting laws invites the very orgy of bribery and corruption you would suspect. While it is sad it is not surprising that we have for some time been in a place where any oasis of liberty requires a statute protecting it from the predatory state.
The growth of the DPC practices and industry is key to the continued delivery of health care in this country, particularly as the effects of federal intervention wreck havoc on patients’ ability to afford basic care. More basic healthcare needs are declared ineligible for payment every week while at the same time insurance deductibles and premiums skyrocket. DPC practices are not only the life raft, they are the key to bringing healthcare costs under control, particularly for those requiring care for conditions such as diabetes and vascular disease (to list just two examples) that require chronic and continuous disease management.
As the federal government and their crony accomplices attempt to make off with an even greater percentage of GDP for healthcare, I believe it is important to understand, recognize and support the tenacious underdogs (like the DPC practices) standing in stark defiance. Here is the Journal Record article by Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Michael Carnuccio appealing to the power brokers in the state house to ensure that these DPC practices remain unmolested.
Smith MD, G. Keith. “New Healthcare Crony Attempt to Crash the Free Market Party.” Surgery Center of Oklahoma, Jan 2015. Web. 15 Feb 2015.