free market forces must be a part of health reforms

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Monday, 17 April 2006

The City Paper's Christine Buttorff notes that Gov. Bredesen's health care proposal will go to the Legislature this week.  I've spoken with several health care professionals about the Governor's plan, and all have reserved judgment until they've seen the details.

Here's one safe bet:  If Bredesen's plan incorporates market forces to trim costs, then it stands a chance of being effective.  If, however, it continues to shift the financial burden for service from recipients to second or third-party payers, then it will worsen an already bad TennCare system.

On a related note, Dr. Robert Berry wrote a recent "Nashville Eye" column for the Tennessean.  He founded a cost for care clinic in Greene County that offers quality service at a reasonable cost. 

Bredesen also promises an insurance plan featuring $25 co-payments for "routine doctor visits." This sounds reasonable when one considers the charges — oftentimes as much as $90 — that doctors bill to insurance companies. However, the plan ignores how much producing the billing paperwork for insurance companies inflates health-care costs.

In fact, medical practices that bill insurance cost three times more to operate than cash-for-service clinics such as mine. By cutting out the middleman, cash-only practices can charge less, provide excellent care and still be financially viable.

The Legislature should take Dr. Berry up on the offer of "visiting cash-only clinics" like his as they wrestle with TennCare reforms.

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10 Responses to “free market forces must be a part of health reforms”

  1. Joseph A Nagy Jr Says:

    Sometimes I wonder if your actually a Libertarian.

  2. Sharon Says:

    It’s not too late to reform TennCare. That is what Jim Bryson pushed for, and will continue to push for. He probably has some real insight on this issue being he was on the TennCare oversight committee.
    I don’t know why some conservatives or libertarians try to make this a liberal issue. About half the people in the TennCare movement identify themselves as conservative Christians.

  3. Volunteer Voters Says:

    Pick One…

    Bob Krumm on the new Cover Tennessee proposal by Governor Phil: The City Paper’s Christine Buttorff notes that Gov. Bredesen’s health care proposal will go to the Legislature this week.  I’ve spoken with several health care professionals about …

  4. Tom Says:

    Sharon, Jim Bryson has pulled a blind-fold over your eyes if you think he for real TennCare reform. I like Bryson but he is yet to put forth ANY plan for TennCare, not to mention one that will comply with his TABOR amendment. Honestly, I can’t believe you have completely lost sight. He is not the only person on TennCare Oversight… just the only person who needs an issue to run on so desperately. By the way, Bob has yet to answer me (or any of you) on the question of whether he is supporting Sen. Bryson 100% in the upcoming Governor’s race. Yes, I did try to send an email.

  5. Sharon Says:

    Hi Tom,
    Whether or not we agree on this issue, it’s good to see someone who is informed on this issue.
    There is so much going on this week and next (and I’m fairly sure you know that) that I think a lot of cards will get laid on the table. I was downtown today with some of the legislators, and saw Tony Garr and Lori Smith making some last ditch efforts. I didn’t speak with them.
    I don’t think Bryson has all the TennCare answers, but I don’t think anyone does. Anyone of any ilk running against Bredesen would be wise to use the TennCare issue. Don’t worry, I haven’t lost sight of the point you are making.
    I do disagree with you, however, on trying to get Bob to answer whether he supports Bryson on every issue. I say that because I think we would all be hard pressed to say we support any candidate 100 percent. Bob won’t lie, so what if he doesn’t like Bryson’s hair or tie? I know that is not what you’re asking, but the point is simply how hard it would be to find anyone we agree with 100 percent.
    Sharon

  6. bob Says:

    I don’t agree with my wife 100% of the time. Nor does she with me. But I do wholeheartedly support Senator Bryson for Governor.

    BTW, Jim Bryson is not mentioning TennCare just because he needs a campaign issue. He was pushing Tenncare reforms a year ago when the Governor and Jimmy Naifeh wouldn’t even listen to him (here, here, and here). Bredesen could have instituted his plan last year if he wanted to, but then what would he run on if he had already “fixed” that problem?

  7. Tom Says:

    3 editorials in the Tennessean, written by Tim Chavez of all people, are not going to make me think Bryson isn’t playing politics with this issue. Might as well be Bill Hobbs writing the article. What plan does Bryson have other than opening back up the TennCare rolls twice a year for the disenrolled? This is not reform, that would obviously leave us right back in the fiscal crisis we were in under the last Republican Governor. In all seriousness, please let me know if I have missed the plan Bryson has for ‘real reform.’ Also, thanks for answering my question Bob. I apologize if it was a hard answer to share.

  8. bob Says:

    Tom, It wasn't a hard answer to share at all. You just finally asked the question in a thread where it was somewhat relevant. (I never did get the email–sorry.) And I linked to those articles from last year because they show that Bryson is not just coming to the tncare issue because he "needs an issue to run on so desperately." He offered a feasible solution–at least in the short term–last year. But the Governor and the Legislature's Democratic leadership didn't want to listen then.

  9. Joseph A Nagy Jr Says:

    I really don’t see any TennCare reform as being a permanent fix. Socialized medicine (which is what TennCare is) doesn’t work in the long run. Look at how Canada’s system is literally falling apart and heading back to privitization. The best we can do is try and keep people from dying while we try to make the cost of medical care in TN cheaper – and that can only be achieved with less government regulation, not more.

  10. Ameliorations Says:

    [...] Commenting continues in this post by Bob which leads me to wonder why the TNLP hasn’t tried to pick him up — or if they have why he refused. I also stick by my own comment on that entry: I really don’t see any TennCare reform as being a permanent fix. Socialized medicine (which is what TennCare is) doesn’t work in the long run. Look at how Canada’s system is literally falling apart and heading back to privitization. The best we can do is try and keep people from dying while we try to [bring] the cost of medical care in TN [down] – and that can only be achieved with less government regulation, not more. [...]