Real health care reform

Forget the disaster of ObamaCare. Real health care reform is coming from doctors around the country. They are providing better health care at lower cost. The better care is due to not letting an insurance company come between doctor and patient. The lower cost ditto.

More and more doctors are refusing to accept insurance, including Medicare or Medicaid. That lets them do what they think is right for their patients, not just what an insurance company (or government agency) will allow. These doctors refuse to sign contracts requiring them to spend no more than 7 1/2 minutes per patient. They now spend more time per patient, not just solving a current problem but teaching patients how to be healthier. These doctors don’t have to phone an insurance company to determine if a certain treatment or medicine is covered. They prescribe what they think is best for the patient.

The result for Dr. Brian Forrest: “We are in the top 5% nationally for control of hypertension, lipids, diabetes, and hospitalization rates based on an independent ongoing 3rd-party audit of our charts, which resulted in our being designated as one of 33 Cardiovascular Centers of Excellence in the US.”

A Direct Primary Care (DPC) practice has much less overhead than a traditional (insurance-based) practice. A traditional practice has 4.5 employees “primarily dedicated to billing, coding, and working with payers to get reimbursement rather than actual patient care.” By not having to process insurance paperwork, Dr. Forrest was able to reduce his overhead by 80%, cut his prices, and spend more time with patients.

Dr. Forrest charges less than traditional practices. “Occasionally, his charges wind up being less than just the co-pays for Medicare or private insurance. He’s negotiated deals with a lab company to reduce his patients’ costs for tests. The lab loves being paid on the spot for services rendered and allows Forrest to charge his patients $30, for example, for a prostate-cancer screening test that the company bills to an insurer at $184. He’s found other doctors happy to join in, such as a cardiologist who’s willing to give discounts of 80 to 90 percent to his patients if he’s paid cash up front.”

But how can his patients afford to pay him without insurance? One might turn that around and ask how can insured people afford to pay high premiums, high deductibles, and high doctor’s bills? Half of Dr. Forrest’s patients do not have insurance. Eliminating overhead allows him to charge lower than all doctors who do accept insurance.

Better quality, lower costs, and improved access – isn’t that what everyone wants in health care reform?

via Daniel J. Mitchell, The Way Healthcare Should Function

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