Hello. Dr. Keith Smith with you – Surgery Center of Oklahoma. Thank you for joining us in this video blog series.

I’ve said many times that I look forward to a political candidate whose platform consists of a single pledge – a pledge to vote against every single law that is proposed. The only way they would break this pledge is if a law repealed a prior law, then they could vote for that. Or a law that reduced the power of government in some significant way. I think we need to consider some candidate like that. Because many times, the laws and regulations that are passed in this country are not for our own good as we’re told. But rather to bestow some advantage on someone who has paid and basically bribed their legislator to achieve this advantage.

These laws and regulations are oftentimes paid for by the large players in the market knowing that the small player – the small competitors – cannot comply with these rules and regulations. This is certainly true in healthcare.

My friend Jim Epstein at Reason Magazine told me he always looks for industry consolidation when he’s looking for a juicy story about government bribery and corruption, because industry consolidation is not the natural order of things. The natural order of things is to have more competitors in the marketplace.

I would like to show you the headline of Oklahoma’s largest newspaper, The Oklahoman, from August 3rd: “Rural hospitals in critical condition.” This is a very well-written article and documents everything that I’ve just said. These rural hospitals are in trouble because they cannot comply with the rules and regulations of Obamacare – rules and regulations that only big hospital systems seem to be able to afford.

They place most of the blame at the feet of the mandate to purchase electronic medical records systems. It should come as no surprise to the listeners of this blog that the rural hospitals were told to buy these systems and the Federal government – you guessed it – would pay them back. They have not received the promise of the payback.

I have a solution and I’ve talked about this for years to the plight of the rural hospitals. But it requires the repeal of prior laws and that is to let the doctors own the hospitals. This is the way it was before the Hill-Burton act. I believe at this point, there would be doctors who would leave metropolitan areas and go work at rural hospitals, given the opportunity to buy and have a stake in the success of these hospitals. This would require the repeal of the laws that were passed to help the big hospital systems and to prevent physician-owned facilities from competing with them.

We should keep the rural hospitals’ plight in mind and know that the free market and the repeal of Federal laws is truly the answer for them.

Thank you for joining us in this video blog series. We’ll see you next time.