Paulsen introduces bill to provide better access to direct primary care for patients

Jan 11, 2017

By Ripon Advance News Service | January 10, 2017

Rep. Erik Paulsen

Patients would have more health care options and improved access to primary care doctors under bipartisan legislation that was reintroduced by U.S. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) on Friday.

The Primary Care Enhancement Act would bring greater flexibility to patients by providing them access to an innovative delivery model in which primary care services are paid for through monthly membership-based fees.

“Our goal is to provide patients with health care that is patient-centered, accessible and affordable,” Paulsen said. “Direct primary care is one of the most popular options that fits those needs for many in Minnesota and across the country. This bipartisan, commonsense fix will empower patients by improving access to high-quality direct primary care and providing them the flexibility to pursue the health care that best suits them.”

Under current tax law and regulations, direct primary care is considered a form of insurance coverage rather than a medical service, which limits patient access to it.

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who co-sponsored the Primary Care Enhancement Act with Paulsen, said the bill is about giving patients more flexibility to access the care they need.

“This model of care has been proven to both improve patient care and lead to better health care

Paulsen introduces bill to provide better access to direct primary care for patients – Ripon Advance

experiences,” Blumenauer said. “Our legislation allows patients greater opportunities to save for their care, while at the same time helping them receive high-quality services that keep them healthy.”

Under the bill, consumers would also be able to use health savings accounts to pay for monthly membership fees.

U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) plan to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.

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