From Lawson for Congress:
Thank you again for your support of my 2010 Congressional campaign. With your help, I fought for a federal government that lives within its Constitutional boundaries, protects our inalienable rights, and for an end to the bailouts and crony capitalism that are crippling our economy.
I continue that fight in 2012. One of 2010’s defining issues still growing in importance is healthcare -- and over the past year, I've been working on a solution to fundamentally alter our healthcare system at the grassroots level, and to simultaneously address the problems of cost, quality, access, and price transparency.
So although I won’t be running for office in 2012, I remain committed to advancing freedom by creating a free market solution for healthcare, making healthcare accessible and affordable for all.
Our new company, Physician Care Direct, is transforming the way people pay for healthcare. You see, while today’s so-called “health insurance” is expensive, outpatient healthcare doesn’t have to be. Our solution allows physicians to offer their healthcare services directly to local businesses and individual patients as a non-insurance health benefit, bypassing the costs and complexities of third-party payers, and making care affordable.
As Massachusetts' State Treasurer Timothy Cahill noted, today's American healthcare system is a textbook example of failed central planning. Medicare sets reimbursement rates from Washington, private insurers riff on that theme, and most patients go to the doctor expecting someone else to pay for a service where cost, price, and value are completely opaque.
As a corollary to the above, how much doctors get paid depends not on the value of their service to their patients, but by the actions of technocrats and lobbyists who set reimbursement rates and participate in the gang warfare of payer contract negotiations. Over the past few decades, lobbyists for various branches of medicine have created a system of Orwellian-sounding "Relative Value Units" that value specialty care and procedures well above primary care.
But think about the diseases crippling our nation -- in aggregate, our country is obese, hypertensive, and diabetic. What's the best way to reverse these chronic illnesses and prevent their devastating long-term consequences of heart disease, stroke, and organ system failure?
For most patients, it's not expensive procedures or specialist care -- it's through primary care, where patients work with their provider to learn how to live a healthier life through a nutritious diet and regular exercise, and appropriately using medications as necessary.
Considering the above, it's clear we need a robust and vibrant community of primary care providers who are empowered to "do well by doing good", and who are rewarded for creating value in their interactions with patients. But primary care practices today are struggling to remain independent, with physicians frequently selling their practices or simply going out of business.
Why can't primary care doctors stay in business? The average medical office has a staff-to-provider ratio of four to one -- with two of those staff just trying to get the doctor paid and navigate the third-party payer system.
Yet the value of primary care is the time a provider spends with the patient -- educating, encouraging lifestyle changes, and working to manage and reverse these debilitating chronic illness.
Why should a doctor need to pay 60% operating overhead just to spend time with patients?
With Physician Care Direct, they don't. Our software platform empowers physicians to offer their healthcare services directly to local businesses and individual patients, without the costs of the third party payer system.
Everyone needs a great primary care physician, and if you're paying your primary care physician directly, primary care is no more expensive than your cell phone bill.
Using our platform, doctors can create membership plans much like gym memberships where you or your employer can pay an affordable monthly fee and receive a menu of common healthcare services, with any additional services offered at affordable, transparent prices. Our platform reduces overhead, lowering physicians' costs of providing care, and in turn, lowering patients' and employers' costs of purchasing care.
Our healthcare system should belong to us, as individual patients, and to caring providers -- not to central planners and bureaucrats who add unnecessary cost and subject personal medical decisions to dangerous bureaucracy.
Please join me in encouraging grassroots health care reform that works for patients, doctors, *and* employers -- visit our website at physiciancaredirect.com, join our email list to learn more, and start paying your doctor directly to reduce costs and restore the doctor-patient relationship.
William (BJ) Lawson, MD
PS - This will be my last email from Lawson for Congress. If you’d like to stay in touch with my work to return control of our healthcare system to providers and patients, please signup for our email list at physiciancaredirect.com.