Lee Beecher, MD
Psychiatrist, Advocate for Patient Care
Chapter 6: Going Independent Meant Refusing Third-Party Payments
“Give the patient the money and get out of the way.” – Michael Ainslie, MD, former Chair of the Minnesota Medical Association Board of Trustees and a Board member of MPPA.
In his quoted sentiment, Dr. Ainslie, a physician with decades of practice experience as a pediatric endocrinologist, asserts what I found to be true over the years – patients are smart when it comes to their own medical care. Patients are motivated by self-interest to decide what is best for them when they are given the chance and the responsibility to direct payments for their medical care.
For real patient-centered medical care to be an option for most Americans, voters must and will demand that their elected politicians pass laws creating alternatives to the current monolithic, expensive, and unaccountable government-directed managed care systems in the
United States. Of this, I am certain. Election results since the Affordable Care Act passed prove that voters are worried about the drift of medical care, and the 2016 election loudly validated voters’ concerns.
Recent news about how the ACA is affecting individuals will spill over to new Congressional and State Legislative reforms. In 2017, we have reached the breaking point, and new solutions will be demanded.
Consider Michelle Malkin:
Over the past three years, my family's private, individual health
insurance plan -- a high-deductible Preferred Provider Organization
-- has been canceled three times. Our first death notice,
from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, arrived in the fall of 2013.
Our second, from Rocky Mountain Health Plans, came last August.
Three weeks ago, we received another ominous "notice of
plan discontinuation" from Anthem informing us that the insurer
"will no longer offer your current health plan in the State of Colorado.”
A growing number of medical professionals like me believe one answer to Malkin’s dilemma is to ensure that she and her family have access to an independent physician and to major medical and hospital insurance. Certainly, some people would choose to stay within the federal government’s mandated insurance plans, scant as they are, but Malkin should be free to go outside the system where she can partner with a medical professional to make her own decisions about care – and be able to afford it.