Why do we have insurance for primary care?
John Blanchard, M.D., doesn’t bill health insurers for services. Instead, through his Premier Private Physicians PLC office in Troy, he sells subscriptions for primary care to patients at about $200 a month.
Insurance is meant to be a mechanism to cover financially catastrophic events that occur rarely. Primary care is an inexpensive event that occurs frequently. Having insurance for primary care is like having insurance for your car that covers brakes, tune ups, and oil changes, a concept that seems ludicrous when applied to your car; but, somehow expected when applied to health care.
Mr. Murdock’s comments in the Detroit News http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2015/12/01/letter-direct-primary-care-holes-health-care-coverage/76640190/ reflects the misguided notion that health insurance is health care.
Direct Primary Care (DPC) restores the integrity of the physician patient relationship by removing third parties from the exam room and delivers health care value to patients in exchange for one low monthly fee. DPC does not intend to replace insurance for the 20% of health care services that are financially catastrophic. It works with insurance by delivering 80% of a patient’s health care needs directly to the patient while protecting them against their exposure to more costly health care expenses. Direct Primary Care working with a wraparound insurance plan is a comprehensive health care solution that delivers the triple aim of lowering health care costs, while improving quality and service, and creating healthier populations. Stabilizing the cost of care gives health care providers the opportunity to be more competitive and it restores sanity and satisfaction to the primary care profession.
If the State of Michigan adopted the DPC model for Medicaid patients, doctors who currently have Medicaid contracts (and many who don’t) would compete with each other for Medicaid patients. Health care has been outside free market forces for so long there is absolutely no relationship between supply, demand, quality, and cost.
The notion that somehow large government or insurance bureaucracy can ensure you are getting value for your health care dollar more than the primary care physician, who you are paying directly, is naïve and dangerous. By the way how’s that working for the Veterans Health Administration?
Direct Primary Care forces primary care physicians to compete with each other for your health care dollar based on quality and price and that puts you the consumer in a very good place. The truth is numerous studies show that the DPC model lowers overall health care costs by as much as 20% (even for Medicaid populations) and patients love having access to a primary care physician who they know and trust. Senator Colbeck is a visionary when it comes to health care and his comments (Health care saving could fund Michigan’s roads, Nov. 18) are spot on. Direct Primary Care is growing rapidly in Michigan and is here to stay.
If I could speak for those of us actually providing health care in a Direct Primary care model I would respectfully ask that Mr. Murdock stay out of my exam room….. The patients and I are doing just fine.
John Blanchard MD
Dr. Blanchard is a practicing direct primary care physician and CEO of Premier Private Physicians Management LLC