Lots of exciting things are happening at our facility. If you have been following this site, you have seen that we have gained national attention with our free market approach to health care, evidenced by the videos you can watch on previous blogs, here, here and here. Thanks once again to the folks at the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons for creating the opportunities for me to spread this message in Washington.
Local media attention continues to pick up here with the printing of an article I wrote on the causes of the high cost of health care in a local business magazine. Our free market ideas and the extension of our approach to the self-insured employer market will be the thrust of a television feature here locally tomorrow. If I can link to it afterward, I will post it on the blog.
Various benefit managers for large self-insured companies have approached me with a new understanding of controlling the costs of their benefit plan, an understanding that is largely due to our having posted our prices online. One manager actually has done what I hoped someone would do: compare side by side what they have been paying for various procedures at the big hospitals and what they could have been paying at The Surgery Center of Oklahoma. The savings demonstrated early in their audit resulted in an early cancellation of their audit due to the obvious. The spread, just as I suspected was anywhere in the range of 4-10. What I mean is that this benefit manager has seen the self-insured plans paying 4-10 times what the prices are on our website.
This is very exciting news for us and for the community. This news is a nightmare for those who for too long have benefited from the cartel-like structure of healthcare, controlled by the big hospitals and the big insurers. Although many obstacles remain, I remain confident that like it or not, the market will prevail. In spite of the government and its cronies it always does. People are tired of paying for ridiculously priced health care. The crocodile tears shed by the insurance agent announcing an increase in health premiums to a human resources manager (their commission increases as rates increase), are being replaced with real tears as more and more companies are announcing to their agent that they intend to self-insure in order to have more control over their hard-earned revenue.
One benefit manager told me recently that our website and the prices displayed are a hot topic among many large employers he knows. Employers and the self-insured are excited. The cartel managers are petrified. We’ve been called a lot of things over the years for having posted our prices, most of which have not been complimentary. Every day that goes by, however, we are more vindicated in what we have done. I hope that others in the medical profession will continue to join us. Only the free market can reveal to us what the price of our service should be. True, unfettered and open competition will increase the quality bar and lower prices for everyone. It has in every other industry. Health care is no different. While the political theatre, as Lew Rockwell calls it, occurs in front of the Supremes on whether or not the feds can rule every aspect of our lives, we will continue to harness the power of the free market to revolutionize the delivery of affordable care, hoping all the while that our approach is contagious.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.