Combine the expertise and philosophies of the federal government and organized medicine, and you wind up with something about as nutritious and appetizing as Thanksgiving dressing made from last year’s salmon mousse. The self-deluded at the AAFP have cranked out another joke disguised as farsighted thinking in their Primary Care Patient Protection Act of 2019 (cue confetti). AAFP Prez Gary LeRoy, MD is excited that this bill, “takes the financial fear away from Americans who seek care from their primary care physicians.” Will it do so my reducing coercive premiums charged by Big Insurance, as guaranteed by Big Government? Uh, no. Will it create more primary care physicians (as opposed to those who just claim they are)? Not exactly. Perhaps it will create and fund more primary care residency slots, or increase money actually paid to those slogging through their days filled up with entitled, angry primary care recipients? Well…
“If enacted, S. 2793 ‘will ensure that individuals and families are able to prioritize their health and well-being independent of the economic limitations established by their health plan…’” Man, that’s HUGE, that’s awesome! How, exactly?
The bill “would allow two no-cost primary care visits each year for people with high-deductible health plans.” The AAFP uses as evidence a study claiming that many adults with high-deductible plans whose deductibles are $3,000 or more may have a hard time getting into the office because of cost. They also note CDC figures that say more people are leaving employer-based plans for high-deductible ones. The AAFP, noted supporters of the ACA which delivered a great portion of this rotting turkey, says: “Regardless of the type of health insurance, the Academy added, Americans have seen the cost of their coverage rise sharply.”
The AAFP is happy that this bill “promotes timeliness and continuity of care as a safeguard against expensive ER visits and other effects of delayed medical attention.” They are proud that they are “providing individuals the ability to secure visits with their primary care physician independent of cost-sharing requirements.”
People are still going to be stuck with huge premiums and deductibles. This bill does NOTHING to change that, so Big Insurance will love it. In fact, a new mandate will be the perfect cover for them to raise premiums just a little more, to offset the “free” visits they’ll have to dig deep to provide (whatever the language of the bill, does anyone actually believe Big Insurance will eat the cost?) The government will love it because it created the appearance of doing something without actual achievement, which is always government’s highest aspiration. The AAFP clowns love this because they think it will further demonstrate the utility and worth of a discipline they still foolishly believe they guide, even as they participate in its marginalizing. Just think of the fun the AAFP will have collaborating with Big Insurance and Big Government to revise mandatory guidelines for these “free” visits.
And anyone who believes this bill will reduce ER visits is so ignorant of patient behavior that they should be confined with the rest of the AAFP, making macaroni art in a locked-down dementia ward.
Yet while the cheerleaders of a broken system mumble, drool on themselves, and congratulate each other over their bureaucratic flatulence, Direct Primary Care is sitting not quite patiently out in the hall, waiting to come in and fix the mess. Who cares about two primary care visits per year when you can have as many as you like, not to satisfy musty AAFP guidelines or government payment requirements, but to address the actual needs of the individual?