IBJOpinion

Fix what's broken first

December 12, 2009
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

As a physician, I owe it to my patients to help get health care reform right. From the front line, physicians can offer changes that could result in more cost-effective, efficient and accessible health care. That’s why I joined the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights, along with 10,000 other doctors. Coalition members have shared ideas with Congress, but many of our elected officials have turned a deaf ear.

Restricting physician ownership of hospitals and other facilities is just one example, as noted in your [Dec. 7] story. Physician ownership consistently provides care less expensively than “non-profit” or larger corporate entities. When physicians have ownership, they pay taxes and help support local communities, unlike “non-profits” which make substantial profits but pay no taxes.

Other examples:

• The federal government already has two major health care programs that are dysfunctional and rapidly running out of money. Fix Medicare and Medicaid before giving government control of even more health care decisions.

• Allow primary-care doctors to enter into private contracts outside of Medicare without having to drop out of the program altogether. This would incentivize doctors to go into primary care and do what they do best: manage the overall care of patients. They can’t get paid for that now.

• Streamline the bureaucracy that over-regulates and stifles care and innovation, including the morass in Medicare billing codes—rivaling cumbersome Internal Revenue Service tax codes. Doctors are beset by onerous regulations and conflicting edicts, and then subjected to criminal penalties and damages. Even Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act statutes apply because of “organized” groups that manage office practices and billing. With threats of government audits, physicians spend more time and money fulfilling coding requirements and less with patients.

Congress must reduce over-regulation by the Federal Drug Administration to reduce costs. A more realistic risk-benefit ratio for FDA regulation of prescription drugs and devices must be developed.

• Tort reform is essential. Malpractice costs are only the tip of the iceberg. Product liability dramatically increases the cost of drugs and devices here compared to the rest of the world. Fix the legal system so, like [in] other countries, reckless lawsuits are not allowed.

Clearly, more must be done to curb rising health care costs and provide affordable coverage for uninsured Americans. But Congress must take the time to preserve what works and fix only what’s gone wrong.

__________

Dr. Francis Price Jr.
Price Vision Group

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  1. The deductible is entirely paid by the POWER account. No one ever has to contribute more than $25/month into the POWER account and it is often less. The only cost not paid out of the POWER account is the ER copay ($8-25) for non-emergent use of the ER. And under HIP 2.0, if a member calls the toll-free, 24 hour nurse line, and the nurse tells them to go to the ER, the copay is waived. It's also waived if the member is admitted to the hospital. Honestly, although it is certainly not "free" - I think Indiana has created a decent plan for the currently uninsured. Also consider that if a member obtains preventive care, she can lower her monthly contribution for the next year. Non-profits may pay up to 75% of the contribution on behalf of the member, and the member's employer may pay up to 50% of the contribution.

  2. I wonder if the governor could multi-task and talk to CMS about helping Indiana get our state based exchange going so Hoosiers don't lose subsidy if the court decision holds. One option I've seen is for states to contract with healthcare.gov. Or maybe Indiana isn't really interested in healthcare insurance coverage for Hoosiers.

  3. So, how much did either of YOU contribute? HGH Thank you Mr. Ozdemir for your investments in this city and your contribution to the arts.

  4. So heres brilliant planning for you...build a $30 M sports complex with tax dollars, yet send all the hotel tax revenue to Carmel and Fishers. Westfield will unlikely never see a payback but the hotel "centers" of Carmel and Fishers will get rich. Lousy strategy Andy Cook!

  5. AlanB, this is how it works...A corporate welfare queen makes a tiny contribution to the arts and gets tons of positive media from outlets like the IBJ. In turn, they are more easily to get their 10s of millions of dollars of corporate welfare (ironically from the same people who are against welfare for humans).

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