Friday, September 4, 2009

Health Care Pain? Government IS The Problem

Innovative people can always find a solution. The government can always find a way to interfere. Here's a perfect example from the New York Post:

The state is trying to shut down a New York City doctor's ambitious plan to treat uninsured patients for around $1,000 a year.

Dr. John Muney offers his patients everything from mammograms to mole removal at his AMG Medical Group clinics, which operate in all five boroughs.

"I'm trying to help uninsured people here," he said.

His patients agree to pay $79 a month for a year in return for unlimited office visits with a $10 co-pay.

Great idea! The patients were happy, the doctor was happy, everybody was happy, but...

[His] plan landed him in the crosshairs of the state Insurance Department, which ordered him to drop his fixed-rate plan - which it claims is equivalent to an insurance policy.

Muney insists it is not insurance because it doesn't cover anything that he can't do in his offices, like complicated surgery. He points out his offices do not operate 24/7 so they can't function like emergency rooms.

"I'm not doing an insurance business," he said. "I'm just providing my services at my place during certain hours."

He says he can afford to charge such a small amount because he doesn't have to process mountains of paperwork and spend hours on billing.

"If they leave me alone, I can serve thousands of patients," he said.

The state believes his plan runs afoul of the law because it promises to cover unplanned procedures - like treating a sudden ear infection - under a fixed rate. That's something only a licensed insurance company can do.

"The law is strict on how insurance is defined," said an Insurance Department spokesman.

A possible solution that Muney's lawyer crafted would force patients to pay more than $10 for unplanned procedures.

They are waiting to see if the state will accept the compromise. Still, Muney is unhappy because, he said, "I really don't want to charge more. They're forcing me."

Comments via State of (In)Dependence: "It's time that people see government for what it is—a leviathan that would rather take complete control of everything rather than fix anything. Just ask Dr. Muney's patients."

Fox News provided an update on the story (Insurance Industry Wins, Low-Cost Doctor Raises Fees):

The state Insurance Department told Dr. John Muney last month to end the $79-a-month medical service at his AMG Medical Group clinics in all five boroughs. Department spokesman Andy Mais says Muney was violating state law by basically operating as an insurance operator without a license.

The monthly fee buys unlimited office visits, including certain tests and in-office surgeries.

Muney will charge $33 per visit for all but preventive care, which Mais says brings him in compliance. Muney's spokesman says he'll challenge the restrictions through legislation.

Government interference exemplified by Dr. Muney's story is exactly why we have so many problems with health care in this country. Here are some additional painful examples:
  • Community Rating” laws, which limit insurers’ ability to charge different prices to different customers, raise prices by 20.3% for individual policies and 27.3% for family policies
  • Mandated benefits raise the expected price of an individual policy by approximately 0.4% per mandate. For family policies the increase is approximately 0.5% per mandate. The typical state has about 20 mandates (with a range from 6 to 48) so a reduction from 20 to 10 mandates would imply a 4% decrease in price for individual policies, and a 5% decrease for family policies.
  • Any-Willing-Provider” laws, which limit insurers’ ability to exclude hospitals and doctors from their networks, raise prices by 1.5% for individual policies and 5.3% for family policies.
  • Federal law places limits on the discounts employers and insurance companies can provide for healthy, cost-saving behaviors.
  • Twelve million Americans go without health insurance because the Federal Government does not allow people to purchase insurance across state lines.
One blogger sums up this sad state of affairs very well: "Let it not be said that the problems in our healthcare system are the result of free markets. We have not had free markets for a very long time."


We Need a National Market for Health Insurance.

Obama and the Perfect Political Storm. It's hard to sell change voters don't think they need.

Perfect Example of The Health Care Problem

The uninsured: A bogus excuse for trillions in new welfare spending

Obama’s Threat to Bypass Republicans on Health May Be ‘No Win’

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Linda said...

You mean to tell us that someone has the healthcare crisis figured out, but the government won't let him do it? What is the matter with them?

I hope he wins his lawsuit.

Janie Lynn said...

Free market yes! Sounds like a smart doc if you ask me. I hope he wins too. Incredible that his work would be discouraged.

Anonymous said...

Clearly this is racism. Everything else seems to be.

DaBlade said...

This doctor must be stopped. It is rumored he is actually treating his elderly patients.

Always On Watch said...

We have a doctor similar to Dr. John Muney here in Northern Virginia. Many people who DO have insurance use Dr. Dappen instead of going to their "regular" doctors.

I wonder if the state insurance department here puts restrictions on the plans Dr. Dappen offers.

Anonymous said...

Good for the doc. Free markets are always the solution, never the government - who will bog things down, mess things up, and take was is not theirs to take, and give to who isn't theirs to give.

Dr. Dave said...

Government is ALWAYS the problem, RK.