NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Is Direct Primary Care the Free Market Answer to Obamacare?

February 25, 2015

Government intervention in health care has lead to objectionable medical costs, market distortions and hidden prices. Moreover, the lack of free market competition has resulted in waste and inefficiency among doctors and medical facilities.

That is why, today, Direct Primary Care is making a comeback, thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act's high insurance deductibles and premiums. Unlike Obamacare's complicated and layered payment system, patients who use Direct Primary Care pay a negotiable price directly to the doctor without third party interference.

For the patient, it means they know what they are paying for, before they pay for it. For doctors, it means they can deliver quality healthcare services at a low, transparent, and competitive prices.

Consider what is already happening:

  • Dr. Smith, an anesthesiologist and cofounder of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, posts prices online. His facility provides high quality services for one-tenth to one-fifth of the cost of neighboring medical centers.
  • Patients have successfully negotiated lower prices at local facilities for procedures by leveraging the Surgery Center of Oklahoma published prices.

Indeed, the Direct Primary Care's delivery model could provide a sustainable alternative the overcomplicated payment system offered by many health care facilities, but because of a provision in Obamacare where doctors are prohibited from investing in physician-owned hospitals, expanding patient choice will be an uphill battle.  

Therefore, lawmakers should work toward removing bad policies that prevent the expansion of patient choice and provider competition.

Source: John Grimsley, "The Doctor Posts His Prices Online. Health Care Should Move in the Same Direction," The Daily Signal, February 23, 2015. 

 

Browse more articles on Health Issues