Physician Patient

Archive for the ‘Message from the President’ Category

Empowered Employees: Employers are key to true Consumer-directed Health Care Reform

Friday, May 31st, 2019

https://www.wsj.com/articles/some-middlemen-reduce-health-care-costs-11559241151

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cut-out-the-medical-middlemen-11558294424?mod=article_inline

https://www.activatehealthcare.com/about-us/news/paladina-health-acquires-activate-healthcare-to-amplify-impact-of-primary-care-nationwide

Can employees benefit directly financially from employer-funded health care programs? If so, let’s discuss the evidence.

Companies like Activate (above) sell Direct Primary Care products to their employer clients. These are claimed to be cost-effective to the employer’s bottom line.

However, we must do better. Health care funding products should incentivize patients (consumers) to make cost-effective health care choices when evaluating and shopping for their health care. Are there “insurance” products available to employers which reward employees immediately and directly when they make (prudent) health care choices? What, in addition to funding patient controlled HSAs and HRAs, are employers willing to do to reward their employees (patients) when they seek out cost-effective medical care?
If employers see employee empowerment as being in their business interest (and we think it clearly is), this will be a boon to independent medical practices who (by definition) in providing personalized care seek to reduce health care costs by helping their patients to know and compare (whenever practical or feasible) real time health care prices for their medical care services and products (including medications).

Healthcare Price Shopping in 2019 is a Unicorn

Saturday, May 4th, 2019

Reference: https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-health-insurance-medical-bills-20190502-story.html
the definition of “unicorn” is something which is unusual, rare, or unique.  We know for sure that health care deductibles are up for patients, and family savings (of any kind) are rare and unique for many citizens in the middle class. See: https://money.cnn.com/2014/04/25/news/economy/middle-class-paycheck/index.html
It is not possible to shop for anything if you do not have available money to spend, even if you know what something costs. One can however shop for politicians  who tell you they will give you something for free and that the rich or someone else will pay for it.
Clearly price shopping for health care services and products in 2019 is unusual and rare. Are Minnesota employers willing to empower their employees to shop for health care best suited to their needs? How can recipients of Medicare and Medicaid be themselves rewarded to do so?
With the active support of the media, the US healthcare-industrial complex has framed the political issue for voters as a threat to them over the affordability of their healthcare. In 2018 the voting public responded by electing Democrats fearing losing their insurance coverage (post ACA or ACA repeal) for pre-existing health conditions, and they also supported middle class government healthcare subsidizes.
Our federal debt is now more than $22 trillion. And here in Minnesota, Governor Walz wants a Medicaid buy-in for the middle class and continuing the regressive provider (sick) tax. If Democrats want government control of medical care for all US citizens, this goal represents a piggy or a piggy bank rather than a unicorn. If only the “rich” can afford to buy private healthcare insurance or shop for health care based on price and quality, then what?