ST. PAUL, Minn.—When—and, more importantly, why—did health care costs get out of control?
Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org) is working to answer that question and offer patients and doctors alternatives to escape the unnecessarily high costs of health care.
“A doctor’s office or clinic that does not sign a contract with a health plan and does not participate in Medicare or Medicaid is out from under many reporting and other high-cost regulatory burdens and mandates, including the expensive, intrusive government-imposed Electronic Health Records (EHRs),” said Twila Brase, president and co-founder of CCHF. “Without the need for administrative staff to comply with these regulatory and health plan requirements, costs can be lower.
“We all need—and patients and doctors deserve—a system where costs are more affordable rather than driven sky-high for reasons that have nothing to do with health care,” Brase continued. “In alternative health care systems, there is no need to fill the office with extra employees whose job it is to keep regulations in line, serve as coders and billers, deal with insurance red tape, or perform the extra and costly duties associated with EHRs.”
For example, Brase pointed out, the Surgery Center of Oklahoma has claimed that its cash-based prices are usually 80 percent lower than other surgical facilities. In Tennessee, the PATMOS Emergiclinic offers patients cash-based pricing with fees posted online so there are no surprises.
As another example, Dr. John Gerguis, a Georgia physician, has converted his practice to the Direct Primary Care model, which Brase is reporting in her daily radio feature “Health Freedom Minute.” At the practice, patients pay a monthly fee to get unlimited medical care at the office that includes two physicians and one nurse practitioner—and 24/7 access to Dr. Gerguis. Some services such as labs, x-rays, medications and specialty referrals require additional payment, but at a fraction of the typical cost, and patients can submit them to their insurer.
“Those who want cost-savings and personal attention in their health care should consider Direct Primary Care, concierge medicine or cash-based clinics,” Brase said. “There is a way to provide freedom in today’s restrictive health care system, while at the same time offering affordable personal care where the patient feels valued and important, where there is actual eye contact in the exam room and where the real intent of the doctor-patient relationship is not lost.”
Patients are looking for alternative systems—and more and more doctors are offering them—since two Supreme Court decisions kept the increasingly unaffordable Affordable Care Act alive. Both with anniversaries this month, the first SCOTUS decision, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, was decided on June 28, 2012. It ruled the Obamacare fee for not having coverage was a tax rather than a penalty or a mandate. Then last year, SCOTUS saved the ACA again in King v. Burwell by declaring on June 25 that Obamacare subsidies were legal in all states.
“Patients who have high deductibles and members of health sharing organizations should be searching for clinics like these in their neighborhoods and nearby towns,” Brase said. “Once people know that these practices exist and gravitate toward them, it will change the face and feel of health care.”
CCHF is a national patient-centered health freedom organization existing to protect health care choices, individualized patient care, and medical and genetic privacy rights that focuses on critical health care issues such as Obamacare, REAL ID, compromised babyDNA and the dangers of Electronic Health Records.