By Helen Gelhot:
American Healthcare Must be a Product by, of and for its People and Our Self Governance
People worldwide have long sought US health care. Under the likes of ObamaCare – centralized healthcare (CHC), many US doctors are leaving our profession rather than deal with regulation onslaught.
To maintain CHC expenses, with the rolls adding 10-20M more patients, the Independent Patient Advisory Boards (IPABs), aka “death panels” must restrict to whom and when care is allotted. With government inefficiency and corporate greed, costs and taxes will surely rise.
CHC destroys the sacred doctor patient relationship. Doctors must now follow heavy dictates, even denying care. And why has Congress exempted itself from CHC?
If CHC’s purpose is to build a better system, it would dictate interstate competition for insurance companies and as tort reform to limit recovery in nonphysical damage claims. We Missourians can find alternatives to both the downward spiral in actual healthcare and the disastrous trajectory of costs.
One alternative example can be found at the New Jersey medical clinic, Zaraphath. Started by the Doctors Eck in 2003, it has had great success providing healthcare without big government involvement.
Patient costs per clinic visit are as low as $13 compared to $160 at a FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) or $1000 at an ER. Costs are kept low; the all-volunteer facility physicians are protected without high malpractice insurance costs under the Federal Tort Claims Act of 1996. Additionally, ancillary services and most pharmaceutical medications are donated.
The indigent patient does not need full-coverage insurance; they need good, basic healthcare. Missouri could adopt NJ-like policies to reduce ER and FQHC visits and their Medicare and Medicaid costs. Affordable clinic visits could be free or sliding scale, utilizing insurance only for medical catastrophes.
The Drs. Eck plan to grow this model by having physicians volunteer four hours weekly in exchange for malpractice protection at their primary practices. The NJ Volunteer Physicians Protection Act, currently being considered in NJ, VA, and soon PA. Physicians could offer common-sense care without expensive, “CYA” testing; medical practice would be affordable despite shrinking reimbursements.
The NJ figures below from FY2012 demonstrate the success of this free clinic model. Note: NJ & MO budgets / Medicaid costs are similar in magnitude and proportion.
NJ Medicaid – $10.7B of a $33B state budget
(MO Medicaid – $8B of a $24B state budget during the same period)
$5.4B (of $10.7B) is for acute care in NJ;
- $2.4B (of the $5.4B) – hospitals and outpatient facilities
- $2B – managed care
- $500M -administrators (20%)
$90M – Doctors, labs, all imaging, etc. Only about 1/60 (1.67%) –These costs are what we traditionally think of as healthcare costs; however, they received the smallest monies in the acute care budget of $5.4B.
$500M (20cents of each dollar) for administrators who never touch a patient? The jig is up! Americans know this is unacceptable. For example; OK City’s cash surgery center (The Surgery Center of Oklahoma) sinus surgery is $4.8K-$7K. Integris Hospital, nearby, features the same surgery for $30K+; a $9K pace-maker insertion is $100K at Integris.
Why? Perhaps it is because Integris Hospital employs approximately 18 “suits” with annual salaries of $400K+; surprise!
If our goal is truly to help those without care, legislators need to get out of bed with the insurance companies and free them to compete across state lines.
Practices’ overhead would be manageable without huge malpractice premiums; doctors could see patients longer without charge.
Medicaid could be augmented by a more personalized, charitable network of non-government free clinics (NGFCs). As churches and civic groups start more NGFCs, supply would meet demand.
Multiple MO legislators contend this true change would not work – it would upset both the trial lawyers (the most powerful lobby in Jefferson City) with fewer cases, and the insurance industry with less premium revenues.
Stop immoral Managed Care and profiteering from our bloated Medicaid budget while riding physician’s backs. Physicians cannot serve two masters. Is incentivizing physicians, clinics or hospitals to give less care to Missouri patients reasonable? Missouri’s own venerable Dr. Arthur Gale addresses this in his books: “The Hijacking of American Medicine by the FTC” and “The Hijacking of American Medicine by Managed Care.”
Will legislators and some puppet masters allow meaningful change outlined herein? This includes ending perks and promises, promoting Missouri’s “blanketing of Managed Care.” Will Medicaid expansion attempts stop?
These healthcare budget issues and their feasible answers deserve consideration. Anything less is poor stewardship.
Citizen lobbyists are awakened. Let Self Governance prevail!