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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Returning Power to the Patient: A 10-Point Prescription

I've enjoyed the rare privilege of advising presidential campaigns on domestic and international healthcare issues. Below are some broad-stroke recommendations on domestic healthcare reform:

Returning Power to the Patient

Transfer power from Government
back to the People
As the cost of government-centered healthcare punishes patients and doctors and wreaks havoc on the economy and job market, Americans clearly need a new, patient-focused healthcare reform movement. That movement must take power away from bureaucrats in Washington and return power to the patient, medical decision-making to doctors and proven principles of competition, efficiency, innovation and quality assurance to American healthcare. The following ten steps outline in broad strokes an approach that a new administration and Congress can take to begin to build a healthcare system driven by proven medical and economic principles.
Repeal costly regulations
and job-killing mandates

1.      Make competition for insurance customers national, so monopolistic insurance companies in each state can no longer get away with charging high rates in the absence of competition. Companies all across the country will be competing for customers by offering customers the best coverage at the best price.
2.      Promote tax-protected health savings accounts, so the consumer takes back the driver's seat for her own healthcare. Health savings accounts return insurance to what it was meant to be—low-cost protection against big health crises that patients just couldn't handle out of their own pockets.
3.      Repeal the job-killing mandate of Obamacare and let employers hire back and add hours to their employees. Health savings accounts will let employers continue to contribute to their employees' healthcare while keeping costs manageable.
4.      Make sure that patients with preexisting conditions can get coverage through state high-risk pools and that poor patients get the hand up that they need—without wrecking everyone else's healthcare in the process.
Let doctors make
professional judgments
based on medicine and ethics
5.      Repeal the time-killing, decision-robbing federal bureaucracy of Obamacare and its tangled web of regulations and let doctors turn their attention away from mindless paperwork and back to patients and making professional medical judgments.
6.      Eliminate Medicare and Medicaid waste and fraud and restore reasonable and sustainable reimbursement rates and funding, so poor patients will receive care and doctors will receive adequate reimbursement for providing that care.
Streamline medicines and
promote price transparency
7.      Enforce the bipartisan conscience laws that protect some of our best doctors from discrimination and job loss simply because they follow the Hippocratic oath and won't participate in abortions, or because they base their decisions about controversial treatments on medical evidence and not government social policy.
8.      Follow the proven example of states that have implemented sensible controls on malpractice lawsuits. Patients with legitimate complaints must receive just compensation, but ambulance-chasing lawyers should not be allowed to milk the system with baseless cases that are more expensive to fight than settle.
9.      Streamline affordable medicines by incentivizing innovation and eliminating needless costly regulations and delays in bringing new lifesaving drugs to market.
10.  Empower patients and control spending by promoting price transparency to enable consumers to comparison shop easily and make informed decisions based on the actual cost of treatments.

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