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Position on Healthcare Reform in 2017

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Position on Healthcare Reform in 2017
Awaiting the confirmation of Dr. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services, followed by the
inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, Virginians for Quality Healthcare (VQH)
urges Congress to completely repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, aka
Obamacare), as soon as possible. Congress should pass the popular, bicameral bill, “Empowering Patients First
Act of 2015” (H.R. 2300/S.B. 2519) which repeals the PPACA and puts into place reforms that return medical
decision-making to patients, families and their doctors. President Trump should make this bill the first one he signs
into law, as that action will have a powerful, unifying effect on all Americans who have been greatly harmed by
Obamacare mandates and ever-rising healthcare costs.
VQH opposes partial repeal because Obamacare is a flawed, complex, intertwined law that has proven very
difficult to “fix.” That law has been amended at least 70 times in six years, often by unilateral executive action.
Despite those amendments, Obamacare remains a disastrous, unpopular and unaffordable transformation of
healthcare in the U.S. Moreover, partial repeal prolongs government interference in the doctor-patient relationship
and also creates uncertainty among insurers who have to decide months in advance whether to participate in
PPACA healthcare exchanges. A protracted debate over what features to keep and what to change will not serve
the American people, and could even result in nothing being changed. The time for debating alternatives to
Obamacare is over. It is time for Congress to act, thereby demonstrating to the voting public that their voices
have been heard and their opposition to Obamacare has been duly noted.
VQH remains firmly opposed to the government’s usurpation of individuals’ healthcare freedom and its
expropriation of states’ 10th Amendment rights — both resulting from Obamacare. The free market should be
unleashed by policies that revive competition among health plans and make healthcare truly patient-centered and
affordable. Let market forces determine which insurance companies succeed or fail; Obamacare “risk-corridors”
should not receive another dime from the U.S. Treasury. VQH further advocates alternative pay models for
healthcare, such as direct primary care, cash-only agreements, and healthcare sharing ministries; these
arrangements drive down the costs of healthcare by reducing administrative costs and the role of insurance
companies in routine medical processes.
Until Obamacare is fully repealed, VQH will actively engage lawmakers in Richmond to thwart any last-ditch
attempt to expand Medicaid, and focus instead on healthcare reforms. VQH will promote repealing
Obamacare mandates that would remain in effect in Virginia unless the General Assembly rescinds them also.
Health insurers should be allowed to offer plans with a range of benefits, not force people to pay for gold-plated
benefits they don’t need. To improve patient choice and lower healthcare costs, VQH will support bills to reform
Certificate of Public Need laws; those laws stifle competition, keep hospital and medical costs high, and are not
relevant in the 21st Century. VQH is also dedicated to efforts that will codify Direct Primary Care in Virginia, and
will encourage more doctors to convert their practices from fee-for-service to a direct pay model. VQH will
endeavor to add more doctors and healthcare professionals to its membership network.
The vision of restoring healthcare freedom to Americans can become a reality in 2017

2 Responses to Position on Healthcare Reform in 2017

  1. Pingback: Fairfax Free Citizen » Position on Healthcare Reform in 2017

  2. Woodrow Wood

    December 24, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Note: Please Support HB 193
    My company, Artisan Medical has been involved in opening and managing 7 ambulatory surgery centers in Virginia and Maryland for the past 10 years. Very significantly for our company, we have opened two de novo centers in both Va and 2 in Maryland.
    The cost difference and administrative difficulty in opening an ASC in the two states is enormous.
    A new center can be opened in Maryland in approximately half the time and at a cost that can be several hundred thousand dollars less. This is a very material amount in a one OR center that costs approximately 1.5 million to open if there are no large legal or lobbying costs.
    In addition the investment risks are enormously lower in a less restrictive state like Maryland. The current process in Virginia requires a small group of physicians to invest up to $500,000 in order to get an answer from the State as to whether they can get the required COPN.
    If they are denied the COPN, essentially all the capital investment and time is a wasted investment. Quite a risk for individual surgeons to take in an environment that frequently refuses COPN applications.
    Even if the surgeons are approved it dramatically reduces the operating margin for a center. This reduction is so much that many surgeons are not willing to invest their own personal funds to open a center even though they truly believe it will help them better care for their patients and strengthen their practices because they can operate much more efficiently.
    It is common for surgeons to tell me they feel it is tremendously unfair for the State to both lower fees and restrict how they practice medicine. Lower fees, and less efficient practices are a double threat to maintaining a practice.
    Surveys show that cataract surgery done at ASCs are strongly preferred by patients to hospital based cataract surgery. On top of that, the cost for cataract surgery at an ASC results in approximately 40% less out of pocket expenses for the patients.
    Based on our recent experiences, the burdens are now too large for Artisan Medical to be involved in trying to open a center in Va. as long as the current COPN policy is in place.
    In fact, my company has recently turned down several inquiries from physicians asking for help to open a center.
    Many doctors who are interested in opening an ASC, after researching the issue also find that the burden imposed by the State is so large, in this economy, that they no longer feel the rewards are worth the risk. I believe the buden of the COPN has the effect of causing surgeons to choose to become employees in large entities, or potentially retire earlier rather than maintaining a small practices without the ability to own a portion of their own center.
    I personally think the loss of new surgery centers, coupled with the loss of capital investment by surgeons in their practices is very harmful. But potentially the most detrimental impact, in my opinion, is the part this burden plays in the reduction in the number of individual or small group practices where surgeons remain owners and feel personally invested in their practice.
    I strongly hope you will support HB 193 on Certificate of Public Need Reforms.
    Jesse Chamberlain
    President, Artisan Medical,LLC
    11951 Freedom Drive 13th Floor
    Reston, Va 20190