Nebraska Bill Would Expand Healthcare Freedom

LINCOLN, Neb. (Jan. 26, 2018) – A bill filed in the Nebraska Senate would help facilitate healthcare freedom outside of government insurance regulatory schemes.

Sen. Merv Riepe (R-D12) introduced Legislature Bill 1119 (LB1119) on January 18. The legislation specifies that direct primary care agreements (sometimes called medical retainer agreements) do not constitute insurance, thereby freeing doctors and patients from the onerous requirements and regulations under the state insurance code.

LB1119 also includes provisions defining direct primary care agreements and establishing modest requirements.

The bill goes a step further than direct primary care legislation passed in other states. LB1119 would require the state Department of Health Services to set up a pilot program for direct primary care for Medicaid recipients.

This represents the kind of cost control Obamacare promised but failed to deliver. In 2015, Tom Woods interviewed a Kansas doctor who utilizes the direct primary care model. Dr. Josh Umbehr’s practice demonstrates the cost savings possible when doctors are unfettered from the bureaucratic health insurance system.

Under Obamacare, regulations define such programs as a primary care service and not a health insurance plan, and current IRS policy treats these monthly fee arrangements just like another health plan.

A FIRST STEP

At this point, it doesn’t look like Republicans will repeal or even reform Obamacare, and the changes to the ACA proposed by the GOP would have arguably made things worse. Even with the penalty for not buying health insurance repealed by the Republican tax plan, all other Obamacare rules and regulations remain in place. Regardless, state actions can help completely bring down the Affordable Care Act, or any national healthcare plan the Congress comes up with in the future.

Oftentimes, supporters of Obamacare criticize opponents for not having any alternative. Direct primary care offers one.

These direct patient/doctor agreements allow a system uncontrolled by government regulations to develop. It makes doctors responsive to patients, not insurance company bureaucrats or government rule-makers. Allowing patients to contract directly with doctors via medical retainer agreements opens the market. Under such agreements, market forces will set price for services based on demand instead of relying on central planners with a political agenda. The end result will be better care delivered at a lower cost.

By incentivizing creative healthcare solutions, the market will naturally provide better options, such as the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, This facility operates completely outside of the insurance system, providing a low-cost alternative for many surgical procedures.

A more open healthcare marketplace within a state will help spur de facto nullification the federal program by providing an affordable alternative. As patients flock to these arrangements and others spurred by ingenuity and market forces, the old system will begin to crumble. Creating a structure for Medicaid patients to access direct primary care would likely incentivize more doctors to adopt the direct primary care model, expanding the market further.

Passage of LB1119 would take the first step toward healthcare freedom in Nebraska and would create a stepping stone to further action to nullify the onerous Affordable Care act. Once in place, the people of Nebraska could take further steps to fully extricate themselves from Obamacare for good.

For more information on a plan to nullify the PPACA, click HERE.

WHAT’S NEXT

LB1119 was referred to the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, where it will have to pass by a majority vote before advancing to the Senate floor.

About Tenth Amendment Center
The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. For more information visit the Tenth Amendment Center Blog.

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