Physician Patient


Minnesota Physician-Patient Alliance, Inc. ("MPPA") is a not-for-profit organization committed to improving our health care system. We do this by communicating information to the public and within the industry about important health care issues.

MPPA believes that efficient, quality health care depends on strong doctor-patient relationships. Interference in the doctor-patient relationship by third parties such as health plans and the government, is widespread in today's health care system and often limits what doctors or patients are allowed to do, altering market-based reimbursement, and undermining the traditional ethics of the medical professions. While the intentions of the third parties in interfering with the relationship may be honorable (for example, to control costs or improve quality), ironically the cumulative effect of this interference is unnecessarily high costs and reduced quality. Efforts to reform health care, therefore, must first and foremost address the issue of strong doctor-patient relationships.

The MPPA board consists of physicians, health care consumers, and others who share these concerns and values. We seek to communicate our message by collaborating on research and publication, sharing information about market developments, and individually being active in a variety of health care and community organizations.

To see who belongs to MPPA, please visit our Who We Are page by clicking on the link to the right. To see some of our communications, click on one of the Publications links to the right. If you would like to learn more about MPPA or our positions, click on the Contact Us link to the right.

MPPA was established in 1997 as a Minnesota 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit organization. If you would like to be added to the MPPA listserv, the respected MPPA online discussion group, send us your contact information and we will add you.

Feb 1

Successful reforms must ease limitations on both demand and supply, promoting innovations that can alter the nature of health care delivery and lower costs.

The idea is to identify every potential limit on the supply of health care services, and then [if feasible] eliminate it. If the United States doesn’t do this, other countries will, and America will lose its leadership position in medical innovation.
[D]octors came to believe that, for any set of symptoms (and given certain patient data sets), there is only one correct, deterministic treatment pathway. This has stifled the variation that innovation requires.
[H]ealth coverage [has become] not so much insurance as prepaid medical care.

  • Taxes. Federal tax law favors employer-based coverage, which artificially lowers the cost of group insurance and raises the cost of individual plans. This may be the single most anti-competitive factor in the health insurance market, limiting the variety of available health plans. Breaking down these barriers could start with establishing tax parity for health insurance premiums and individual contributions to health savings accounts.

[H]ealth care innovators must be free to supply new goods and services and consumers must be free [and empowered financially] to purchase them.

  • [The FDA] can approve drugs in stages so that patients with serious, time-critical illnesses could gain early access, and benefit from “right to try” legislation that would grant terminally ill patients early access to drugs still in the approval process.
  •  [A]llow nurse practitioners and other professionals to practice independently (as they already do in numerous states) and authorize pharmacists to write certain prescriptions independently of physicians.
  • Reciprocity agreements or interstate licensing compacts could make it easier for doctors to move from state to state [and for their prescriptions to be honored in more localities].
  • [Training in inter-disciplinary treatment concepts and techniques:] Medical schools today remain focused on individual knowledge rather than [teaching and practicing in] the interdisciplinary teams and networks that characterize much of modern medicine. This results in overly specialized medical fields [and de-emphasis on effective collaborative, patient-centered  team work].
    • [Reform] Malpractice law. [Currently] Tort law invites lawsuits and discourages innovation while also raising costs. The vagaries of tort law also discourage the production of vaccines and the development of new drugs and devices. Potential remedies include capping awards for non-economic damages and shortening the statute of limitations on malpractice suits.

[Politically] This decentralized approach would eliminate the need for one [national] grand bargain—or for total control [of health care in] Washington, DC, by one party.

[My additions] and excerpts above on this fine Mercatus article from MPPA Board member Michael Ainslie, MD

Feb 1

Goodman, John. “What You Need to Know about Medicare for All.” Goodman Institute, August 29, 2018.

Medicare in the United States is not government health care insurance.

Private insurers run the most successful programs in Medicare today. Nationally one third of seniors and more than half of Minnesota’s seniors are now enrolled in private Medicare plans.

The US Medicare program today wastes enormous sums of money on “innovations” that do not improve medical care or rationalize costs. It is not consumer-directed or consumer friendly.

Although they are unaware of it, most seniors enrolled in conventional Medicare today are participating in “stealth privatization” of Medicare.

Employers and private insurers in the US do and can do much more to effectively manage Medicare than can the government.

Medicare for All would be prohibitively costly.

The real costs of Medicare now and in the future cannot hide the currently low payments imposed today on physicians and the increased taxes (costs) which must be borne by US taxpayers.

Not a single problem caused (or made worse) by the (2010) Obamacare law would go away with Medicare for All.

Medicare is already is on a path to government-imposed health care rationing. Medicare for All will accelerate rationing access to care.