Physicians for Freedom

October 20, 2017 by  

Once you’ve tasted freedom and lost it – your perspective changes.  Physicians (not to mention millions of patients) have tasted the effects of overbearing Obamacare mandates: lost practice autonomy, forced into narrow networks, forced into electronic health records systems and all its “box-checking”, practice consolidations – oh – and the low reimbursement rates under the Medicare and Medicaid programs. But many are not taking the losses lying down. 

Members of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons are fighting daily to restore their – and their patients’ – health care freedoms. Through Obamacare repeal efforts, of course – but also by offering patients better and lower cost care through innovative payment models.

It is refreshing to be among health care professionals fervent about putting patients first!  I had that opportunity at the AAPS’s recent conference in Tucson where I shared my own philosophy on health care and the Legislature’s role.  (see photos below) We agree on a lot.  We agree that “most bad government has grown out of too much government” –  Thomas Jefferson said that.  In health care, that’s exactly where we are – so going forward government shouldn’t ‘double down’ by giving government even more control over health care aka ‘single payer’ or Medicaid/Medicare for All.  Here’s my basic philosophy:

  • First – Do No Harm:  Like physicians who take the Hippocratic Oath – lawmakers too can do great harm – through the force of law.  In terms of Obamacare, we shouldn’t add to the problem by trying to fix the effects of a bad law with bad “solutions”.  But where there are existing laws that cause harm, we should correct them if we can!  Examples: States have latitude to act on behalf of protecting an individual’s rights i.e. strengthening patients/physicians’ free speech, treatment & rights of conscience .
  • Strong Oversight/Accountability: Overzealous licensing boards and agencies responsible for services require vigilant oversight. Examples: Health bd due process reforms & others limiting member terms & transparent contracts; Independent oversight for services for the vulnerable; transitioning able-bodied AHCCCS clients into private health care; HIPAA rewrite & other mental health system reforms as expressed here.
  • GET OUT OF THE WAY: Let innovative and lower cost practice models flourish.  We don’t know what great idea may be coming next! Sometimes it actually takes legislation to ALLOW them to operate in the states and put patients in control! Examples: Health Care Sharing Ministries & cash price transparency.  Also expanding scope of practice authority such as for podiatrists and CRNAs.

Health care costs are out of control.  More patient control – not government control is the answer.

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