Oops I Did it Again!
Erin B. Davis
The unraveling of ObamaCare and a Proposed Solution to the Crazy Circus known as American Healthcare.
This is a story about a girl named Lucky. Well, not quite. But when I decided to reach out to my millennial peers to spark a discussion about the Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”) and the health of American healthcare in general, I needed something sexier than an amateur presidential debate and a piece of legislation that drives people crazy—enter Britney Spears.
The unraveling all started when President Obama promised Americans “affordable” healthcare following a resounding cry of “Gimme More.” The unraveling continued with the promise that if you liked your plan you could keep it. Unfortunately, this idealistic legislation continued to crumble when not enough healthy people joined the system to make up for the unhealthy consumers. So, instead of being Stronger Than Yesterday, most millennials were left without coverage and less money in their bank accounts.
The harsh truth is ObamaCare is a Circushitting every town in America. Americans are waking up to ObamaCare set-backs nearly everyday. Daily news so disheartening that singing the classic Hit Me Baby One More Time won’t even ease the pain. Aetna lost $430 Million before it left most of the exchanges earlier this year. That’s a hit. Insurance premiums just keep rising for most of us. Another hit. And for those who are foregoing health insurance all together, don’t worry because there is something for you too! Penalties for not having insurance have more than doubled since ObamaCare’s inception—from $95 for an individual in 2014 to $695 in 2016. Another hit.
There’s a trend here. And it’s worse than overalls and neon windbreakers. It is a trend that will cost American taxpayers approximately $1,207 billion (or $1.2 trillion) over the next nine years according to the Congressional Budget Office.
So how do we fix this toxic system that has us swimming in a bubble of instability? Well, the easiest and quickest way—that doesn’t require paternalistic government—is to promote competition within the market. We need more options, which requires healthy competition. I don’t mean more options as in “force insurance companies to provide unsustainable rates so we end up with more bailouts” options. I’m talking about workable alternatives to government-run and insurance-reliant healthcare.
I’m not saying the government should go away entirely. And I’m not advocating for the demolition of health insurance companies. But I am concerned that my peers who worship the Ubers and Amazons of the world aren’t fully educated on their options when it comes to healthcare. Fortunately, this is not an “either or” situation. Your options are not limited to choosing between private health insurance and the government exchange/penalty.
So, maybe this is a story about being Lucky. It is your Prerogative when it comes to receiving quality care at an affordable price—all while having a real relationship with your doctor. My fellow Americans: I present to you Direct Primary Care (“DPC”) and Concierge Medicine.
Instead of being a slave to the system and getting hit with bad news about the future of your healthcare every other day, you can take advantage of creative healthcare models known as DPC and concierge medicine. DPC and concierge medicine providers are popping up all over the nation in response to healthcare consumers crying “Gimme More,” and these models are starting to catch fire.
Dr. Eric Crall, a physician who spent most of his career with the largest multi-specialty medical group in the Tampa Bay area, left in 2014 to start his own Direct Primary Care Practice. Dr. Crall understands the benefit his model offers consumers of the millennial generation. His view is that “[m]ost of their [healthcare] concerns are acute and can be addressed by a primary care doctor. An accessible direct care doctor can see them same day, sparing them the need for more expensive urgent care services. And when they have this kind of access, they can get a less expensive, higher deductible catastrophic plan without having to worry so much about the risk of having the high deductible.”
A close cousin of DPC is concierge medicine, another creative solution working its way into the healthcare market. Tampa Bay area physician Dr. Tommy McElroy found that his patients enjoy the accessibility and transparency his practice is able to provide. “Millennials came of age in a time of immediacy of information and transparency of price. To them, being assigned to a network of doctors or a one-size-fits-all health plan is as backward as using a phonebook or JC Penney catalog.” So, instead of joining the Circus, Dr. McElroy runs his own show.
Dr. Crall and Dr. McElroy are just two examples of healthcare providers who were Born to Make You Happy. They’re providing alternatives to a broken “crazy system” made up of “Oops I Did it Again” moments. And they’re doing it because they care.
Erin is general counsel at RLG in Tampa, FL