We All Want the Same Thing

I am no politician. I am a family doctor.  I have been blogging daily about our healthcare system for 15 years, though.  And I think most of us DO want the SAME thing.  We want AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE OPTIONS!  In a sense, the Affordable Care Act had it right as far as the name.  After that…ummm…not so much.  There are some out there that demand that all healthcare be FREE but nothing is free in this world, right?  I think affordable is a great term and I think it is a great goal.  It may even be attainable.  How?  Well, it is my belief that the cost of healthcare does not follow free market patterns because it is artificially held from it by the law and by the insurance companies.  Every other product’s price comes down (think computers, TVs, etc.) but somehow the price of an ultrasound and CT scan doesn’t.

Americans are the best shoppers in the world.  They check prices and reviews and buy things on Amazon and there is competition due to this.  This keeps prices low.  If somehow we can do this for healthcare then prices would come down.  I see it in my practice.  I help patients, who have chosen not to have insurance or have one of the health ministry options, get cheaper labs (by 90%) or get cheaper MRIs and so on. If we can just use this model to build around while still having some safety net for the poor then it could work.  That being said, it has no chance with physician organizations presently in place.

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A coalition of these groups, like the AAFP or ACOG, have said this about new legislation being talked about:

“We urge Congress to reject these ‘compromises’ and instead focus on enacting policies that improve upon current law, thus ensuring that more people have access to affordable health care coverage,” the coalition wrote.

Among the priorities that Congress should focus on are

  • ensuring stability in the health insurance market,

  • adequately funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program,

  • supporting more preventive care measures,

  • reducing pharmaceutical costs,

  • reforming liability laws and

  • reducing the administrative burden on physicians.

This is all political speak in order to look good for the public. The current law did not ensure that more people had access to affordable health care coverage!

Just like politicians the big wigs in these groups want to stay in power for a long time. As you can tell by their demands, they live in a fantasy land where money grows on trees.  If you analyze their statement you will see that all they want is MORE but they have no plan.  They pretend that they are worried about patients losing coverage but they were ALL in on the ACA where many could not afford coverage. It was not a net gain because it was not AFFORDABLE.  Again, that is the key word.

If you read the comments on the link above you will see the AAFP is getting hammered over this.  They went political again and their members don’t want politics.  Doctors, like myself, want an affordable system.  Patients want an affordable system.  The government always fails when it gets involved in these types of matters (think the VA or Medicaid).  Let the free market work.

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  2 comments for “We All Want the Same Thing

  1. Mauricio
    May 2, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Great comments – insightful.
    I could not agree more.

  2. Randy
    May 2, 2017 at 9:05 am

    The ACA has inadvertently forced many of my patients to comparison shop for medications since their deductibles are so high and coverage so inadequate. This even applies to many of my Medicare patients.

    I just heard an interview with Andy Slavitt, who was former CMS director under Obama. He stated the ACA is going great and the only difficulties are with the patients who make more than 400% of the poverty level and have to buy their own insurance. In my experience with my patients this is 100% false and many people can’t afford the insurance, even those making around 200% poverty level. Of those who have insurance, it often has huge deductibles and is inadequate in other ways. Slavitt also stated insurance companies are rushing to develop ACA plans since things are going so well – in my state of Iowa we are down to one company.

    I have no illusions the GOP is going to develop anything better. They have no more idea how to fix things than Democrats. Ultimately the key must be controlling costs, and that means sometimes saying no to people as well as saying no to insurance companies, Big Pharma, hospital chains, etc. I don’t see any of our representatives being able to stomach that at this point.

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