A half-truth is a whole lie.
Anything repeated three times in Washington becomes fact.
The California Chapter of the AAPS (CAAPS) has been in existence for about 18 months now. The Golden State has been a battleground in which our chapter has been in a continual struggle against managed care (reportedly controlling 85% of the health care market), on the one side; and an influential bunch of single-payer advocates on the other side. (Three million Californians voted for a single-payer system in the 1994 ballot initiative.) Some of these battles were reported last year at the AAPS Annual Meeting in Falls Church, Virginia.
Dr. Printz is the President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. He is a dermatologist in Lilburn, Georgia.
Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1996;1(2):5. Copyright©1996 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)
Early last year, the Governor of Virginia, George Allen, signed into law the nation’s most comprehensive and integrated health care reform Bill to date. The State Legislature of Virginia passed this Bill, which is based on the American Health Care Plan (AHCP), unanimously with strong bipartisan support. The Virginia Medical Savings Account Act (VMSAA) took effect in Virginia on July 1, 1995.
In the past 20 years, the economics of our health care delivery system has evolved from overutilization to underutilization. In the 1970s, providers (physicians and hospitals) were rewarded for providing too much medical care. Because of unrestricted first dollar coverage of that era’s health insurance plans both patient and provider were encouraged to overutilize procedures, tests, and pharmaceuticals.
Kudos to Jane Orient and Phyllis Schlafly for their one two punch on what Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman describes as Soviet style health care. The article in the May 2 Washington Times by Mrs. Schlafly titled “Clinton Care Reborn” hit the nail on the head. It seems that the Republicans want to use the government to control the monopolistic tendencies of conservatism and this is known as fascism.
MSAs — What’s Next?
Drs. John C. Goodman and Merrill Matthews of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) writing an updated analysis on the impact of MSAs (NCPA Brief Analysis, May 1, 1997), suggest MSAs should be expanded from the ceiling of 750,000 placed by the Kassebaum-Kennedy Bill, “to meet people’s health care needs.”
There is a big difference between what opinion polls find and what gets reported. This is especially true when it comes to Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs). Take a close look at a recent Kaiser-Harvard survey on health care and you’ll see that positive opinions about MSAs are ignored.
When we hear the term MSA, most of us think of the Goodman model. This is where an MSA is funded with the premium difference from today’s more expensive health plan and a high deductible indemnity insurance policy which is used in conjunction with the MSA to pay health care costs. All of the deductible must be met on an annual basis before the first dollar is paid from the insurance. The non-insurance derived money in the MSA is used to pay for the deductible costs, and any medical discretionary spending done by the family.
Dear Dr. Faria,
I have read with great interest the recent articles in the Medical Sentinel concerning MSAs as a way to provide insurance coverage for patients. I too agree that the only ethical way to keep down the cost of medical care is to get the patients back into the loop in terms of financial obligation. Then rational and ethical decisions concerning the patients’ care could be returned to the patients and their physicians.
Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) provide freedom, security, and affordability The MSA concept is the only moral, ethical, and economically sound medical care reform today. And, it works because medical care is returned to the free market where it belongs along with food, clothing, housing, and other products and services.
In July 1995, a small group of Ohio physicians dedicated to maintaining freedom in medicine, established the Ohio state chapter of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Ohio AAPS was founded in an attempt to offer an alternative to the continuing leftward drift of the Ohio State Medical Association. A concerted effort has been made for recruitment of new members through direct mailing, newspaper ads, and public functions. The membership has grown steadily.
In a speech on the floor of the Senate June 24, 1996, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) claimed: “There is no clamor for Medical Savings Accounts except from special interest groups who see an opportunity for profits.” He demonized MSAs as the “poison pill” preventing passage of the Kassebaum-Kennedy “health insurance portability” bill (H.R. 3103) and accused Congressional Republicans of killing this bill to help their wealthy friends and of being “under the hand of Golden Rule Insurance Company.” Senator Kennedy says MSAs are a bad idea which can’t possibly work.
In 1996 Congress created a demonstration project permitting small employers and the self-employed to establish up to 750,000 tax-free Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs). However, as a result of opposition in Congress, lawmakers imposed a number of restrictions that limit who can purchase MSAs and thwart the ability of MSAs to work properly.
Kudos to Dr. Camardese
Dr. Nino Camardese of Norwalk, Ohio was honored to be a guest speaker at the 27th annual national convention of the American Academy of Physician Assistants which took place in Atlanta, Georgia, May 29-June 3, 1999.
A new Republican health care proposal, spearheaded by Rep. Tom Bliley (R-VA), would greatly expand freedom of choice and control by workers and consumers over their health coverage and care. This idea would be far more effective in helping patients than federal regulatory proposals masquerading under the label of a patient bill of rights, which would actually reduce the freedom of choice of patients in some ways.
The Health Mart Proposal
Approximately 2.5 million people in the U.S. --- about 1 percent of the population --- suffer from pre-existing medical conditions making it likely their future medical expenses will be extremely high. While private insurers are ill-equipped to serve this population, 28 state governments play a positive role by chartering non-profit health insurance plans, or HIPs. In order to keep premiums affordable, HIPs are often authorized to impose a small assessment on the premiums earned by private insurers.
Dear Dr. Weaver,
Thank you for your article in the September/October 1999 issue of the Medical Sentinel. I fully agree with you. I am 41 years old and have completed two residencies. I don't know if I would do it again.
We are in an Orwellian System where 1 + 1 = 3. Party A (3rd party controllers/payers) is in charge of processes 1, 2 and 3, but Party B (physicians) is held accountable for Party A's management of processes 1, 2 and 3. This arrangement is insane. The only situation that I can think of where it is acceptable is that of sadistic despotism.
While lobbying to extend and improve MSAs is crucial, at the same time we must work diligently to get every physician who can open an MSA to do so. Health care is the largest industry in the United States and even a small fraction of our number would make a "helluva" dent in the HMO marketplace! If we don't do it for ourselves, why would our patients do it?
Despite the assurances by managed care proponents that health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and other forms of managed care would solve the duel problem of spiraling health care costs and the rising number of the uninsured, that has not been the case. Public-private partnerships and managed care health initiatives which have been promoting the herding of workers and Medicaid and Medicare patients into HMOs have likewise failed to alleviate those problems, at least for the long haul.
The Medical Savings Account (MSA) pilot program expires at the end of this year unless Congress acts soon to extend it.
Medical Savings Account Availability Act
On April 4, 2001, Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) and Rep. William Lipinski (D-IL) introduced legislation to expand the eligibility for MSAs to more Americans and to make MSAs permanent.
"Summary of the Medical Savings Account Availability Act:
The Pennsylvania Chapter of AAPS has developed a program to promote medical savings account (MSA) plans to physicians and the public. The program consists of four videotapes and audiotapes of a speech by economist Merrill Matthews, Jr., PhD, edited differently for different audiences.
MSAs: A Real Patients' Bill of Rights
"The Senate and House have passed different versions of the so-called Patients' Bill of Rights which have yet to be resolved, but both versions involve more federal funding and more federal regulations. A real Patients' Bill of Rights would give us more choice and more competition, and would allow individuals to own our health insurance just as we own our automobile insurance.
Your March 3 editorial "Health Care Industry Wearing Blinders," brings to light much that is transpiring today in health care delivery - from "cowardly" public relations responses at the state legislature to "cynical" radio ads by the managed care industry.
The public outcry you described and the horror story testimonials aired in WMAZ's All About You, managed care series - all support my contention that we are headed in the wrong direction, toward more corporate socialized medicine, to the detriment of patient care.
Over the next three to four years, during President George W. Bush's second term in office, we can expect the United States Congress to continue to move in the direction of improving access and quality of medical care via the implementation of affordable, free market solutions, particularly Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
Although I agree with your editorial on unionization, I must ask why are physicians really forming unions? Why are editors of medical journals, such as the Annals of Internal Medicine (April 20, 1999), calling again for "universal coverage" and "health care as a right?" They are already anticipating the collapse of the "managed care free market system" under its own bureaucratic weight, and are hoping that the government will save us from the crisis with the single payer system.