The past century is riddled with interventions wresting control away from physicians and centralizing it in the hands of the federal government and large firms. Rather than addressing policy issues as they arise, reviewing the healthcare system in historical context can reframe the discussion, revealing its foundational problems.
My interactions with like-minded peers and experts who are working to return “joy” to the profession have given me the confidence to express my viewpoints with other physicians who may have different world views. I now have a network of physicians and fellow residents with whom I can discuss entrepreneurial or policy ideas. I truly loved getting to know the staff and BRI students across the country. I had such a wonderful experience and hope to pay it forward in the future. I urge medical students to please stay involved as residents, keep your email updated and maintain your BRI membership. As more students graduate there will be a greater role for resident mentorship as well as ways to focus on our own professional development.
In Nigeria, we have generally been taught to believe that out of pocket payments are archaic, and insurance is the best way to access healthcare. I was quite surprised to find out that a group of physicians in the United States were going back to a semblance of this “archaic” model, and I was interested in learning about what they were doing.
The Western Health Care Leadership Academy Conference in San Diego provided an amazing review and discussion of health care policy. While everyone was unified in the goal of make health care more affordable while protecting physician quality of life, diverse opinions were represented regarding how to reach that end.
Despite the potential problems, the ideas presented at this conference were discussed with a sense of optimism for the field that I had not previously encountered, and I walked away understanding that there are many opportunities after graduation that extend beyond just being someone else’s employee.
“Family practice is not what it used to be. You’ve gone through too much school and assumed too much debt not to go on and specialize in something.”
“Everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people. The basis of unfavorable comparisons with elsewhere, the knowledge of possible alternatives to the course actually taken, information which might suggest failure on the part of the government to live up to its promises or to take advantage of opportunities to improve conditions—all will be suppressed. There is consequently no field where the systematic control of information will not be practiced and uniformity of views not enforced.” ~Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom
To be fair, the conference was titled “…Health Law Year in P/Review.” Given our lack of market influence in healthcare prior to the ACA, and even less of it now, a review of the past year and a preview of the current year should not involve a discussion of the actual root causes of our healthcare system’s issues. Sarcasm aside, these are issues that people must begin having serious discussions about. Rather than accepting the status quo and searching only for top down approaches to regulating healthcare, a critical analysis as to the cause of rising prices and lack of access should be undertaken, after which thoughtful policies aimed at mitigating costs could actually be implemented. We need people to have access to care, not insurance. Perhaps Abigail Moncrieff was correct in asserting that Obamacare has anchored what is acceptable as policy, and perhaps this itself is the problem.
“I encourage all BRI medical students to get involved in healthcare policy at the state level, as it does affect all doctors and patients. It is a great platform to spread free market ideas and create a medical environment where the patient-doctor relationship can thrive.” ~Trenton Schmale, BRI-Founder & President, MUCOM
At the 2016 Free Market Medical Association (FMMA) conference in Oklahoma City, I and my colleagues heard several speakers discuss how free market principles are currently being applied to healthcare. We also heard several ways in which these same principles can—and should—be applied in situations where they currently are not. Every speaker would then usually follow with something along the lines of: “It is up to us to make this change.”