Legislation would ensure that Direct Primary Care Services are treated as services not an insurance product
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan launched the first retaliatory salvo against the so-called Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) this week as legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) to assert that Direct Primary Care Services should not treated as an insurance product was reported out of the Senate Insurance Committee. The purpose of the bill (SB 1033) is to assure physicians who convert their practice to a Direct Primary Care Service model that the administrative burden associated with insurance regulations will not interfere with their treatment of patients.
Colbeck asks, ““When was the last time you went to a Doctor’s office and knew how much the visit was going to cost before going there? Physicians who provide Direct Primary Care Services simply provide specified services for a specified monthly subscription fee. This transaction model is commonplace in most consumer purchases, but not in healthcare…at least not yet.”
On Tuesday, the Senate Insurance Committee, chaired by Senator Joe Hune (R-Fowlerville), heard testimony on behalf of SB 1033 from Dr. John Blanchard (Premier Private Physicians), Dr. Matt McCord (Docs4Patient Care), Tom Valenti (Forthright Health), and Annie Patnaude (Americans for Prosperity). Written testimony was submitted by Dr. Lee Gross (Epiphany Health Care) and Dr. James Grant (Michigan State Medical Society).
The promotion of Direct Primary Care Services (DPCS) is important because this service delivery model has been proven to improve care while significantly lowering costs. “It is a sad commentary on today’s administration-intensive healthcare system that it has strayed so far from actually caring for patients that it is now possible to improve care by actually cutting costs not by spending more, “ Colbeck said.
DPCS redirects the focus of healthcare away from government mandates, regulations and fee schedules back to the simplicity of the doctor-patient relationship. It is estimated that 50% of the time a primary care physician spends working is actually spent on overhead activities that detract from patient care.
“Widespread adoption of this care model could potentially turn the tide on primary care physician shortages in our state. It would yield an effective doubling of the capacity of current primary care physicians and expand access to care in rural communities. Doctors would finally be able to spend more time with individual patients and effectively put an end to ‘fast food’ health care,” Colbeck continued.
“This is only the first step required to make Michigan a healthcare destination state, but it is an important step. Establishing a robust network of Direct Primary Care Service (DPCS) providers in Michigan would allow employers and individuals who adopt health plans featuring DPCS to not only receive better health care, but to do so for 20-30% lower costs than traditional insurance coverage. Since government is also an employer that means that taxpayer burdens would be lowered as well.”
The Senate Insurance Committee also reported out the Health Care Compact (SB 993) sponsored by Sen. Jim Marleau. This compact simply allows member states to receive federal funds for healthcare programs in the form of block grants and returns the regulatory authority over healthcare programs to the states.
In addition, Senator Colbeck introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 23 (SCR 23), which was assigned to the Senate Health Policy Committee for further consideration. SCR 23 formally requests the federal government to remove restrictions on the deployment of DPCS by the states.
“These three pieces of legislation are a great start to Michigan's battle to restore low cost, high quality healthcare for all of our citizens,” Colbeck concluded.