Category: Healthcare

Trumps Shocking Clarity on Healthcare Reform

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Frankly, I am no fan of Donald Trump, let alone any of the other candidates from either party. But having served in healthcare industry leadership capacities early in my professional career, I have to admit to being absolutely floored by Trump’s health reform plan. What I found shocking about it is that from top to bottom, it makes so much sense.

Let’s be honest, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has been a disastrous nightmare even to the scores of people who were originally rabid supporters. While a noble attempt at reform, many would agree that it has fallen short of even the most limited expectations. I will, however, give this landmark piece of legislation credit for fueling some much-needed debate about the plight of our broken healthcare system.

As many prognosticators originally predicted, Obamacare is on a course of implosion amid soaring costs, technology snafus, patient access barriers, high premiums and deductibles and lackluster consumer choices. The only beneficiaries of this are hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

Recently, I decided to take a look at Trump’s campaign website, albeit reluctantly and was stunned by his level-headed solutions to the current healthcare quagmire. Here are some of the key elements of what he is proposing, as well as my commentary on each of them:

Free Market Driven: Noted Harvard Professor Michael Porter penned a wonderful book a number of years ago, extolling the virtues of free market healthcare. Sadly, it fell on the deaf ears of our statist political system. Undeniably, free market competition has consistently delivered positive returns in terms of lower business costs while increasing quality outcomes. And, health care which is rapidly approaching one-quarter of our GDP, is BIG business.  Unlike the other candidates, Trump gets that.

Economic Freedom and Choice: Trump is very clear in his intention to abolish the Obamacare individual mandate if elected, a point upon which I strongly agree with hi. To me, restricting choice among consumers is simply un-American, because no one should be forced to purchase insurance. Free markets open the doors to the affordable, high-quality plans that consumers are clamoring for.  If the airline industry can figure this out – Southwest Airlines low fares and quality service have revolutionized this market – then the health care industry can too.

As an aside, I recently witnessed a moderately injured person get forced by police and paramedics into an ambulance ride to a local hospital. Despite his pleas to the contrary, there was some arcane law which mandated he had to go. Of course, he loudly proclaimed that he was without  health insurance due to the expense and that he would be a burden on society. No dice. He was physically lifted into the ambulance, and off he went.

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The Future According to Bill Gates

Bill_Gates_June_2015You’d be hard-pressed to pick a well-known figure who is more involved in either the tech world or the world of philanthropy than Bill Gates. But what do tech and philanthropy have to do with each other? At the start of this year, Bill and Melinda celebrated fifteen years of running their foundation. Bill laid out some thoughts on the next fifteen years in a great video interview and also explained how his role in technology has informed his approach to philanthropy. As this year draws to a close, it’s a good time to look back on Gates’ thoughts. From health and agriculture to education and money, Gates seems passionate about the idea that advances in technology will provide the keys to unlocking a better future for the world.

A thread that runs throughout Gates’ entire vision is that of helping poorer countries to become self-sufficient rather than trying to apply bandages to their problems. At every turn, he seems committed to building lasting changes rather than just

Can Free Markets Repair a Broken Healthcare System?

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As a health services administration graduate student at the University of San Francisco in 2006, I felt like a lone voice among my colleagues in championing a free market healthcare system. Despite the release that same year of  Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition On Results - a book by noted Harvard professor Michael Porter – the overall tenor and conversation around a competitive healthcare marketplace resembled the noise of crickets in the countryside.

Four years later, the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, was signed into law by President Barack Obama. Unsurprisingly since that landmark legislation, the U.S. healthcare system has continued to spiral out of control. And as of this writing, amid recent news of crumbling state healthcare exchanges and word of the largest insurer’s anticipated exit from the program, Obamacare is arguably on life support. This has led to calls on the part of a small but vocal lobby to discard this failing model and pursue instead a fresh set of free market healthcare strategies.

A friend of mine who was frustrated by the lack of affordable options, turned me on to TruPrice, a startup firm seeking to develop a real alternative to the current healthcare crisis. Founder and President Mark Gantner believes that the current ACA model is unsustainable and that without alternatives, it will result in louder calls for a single payer system. In his view, this represents a significant constitutional threat; one that has the potential to erode the basis of personal freedoms upon which this country was founded.

Crowdfunding – Free Market Solutions for Social Causes

crowdfundingpicIf you’re like me, you’ve probably contributed to a couple of crowdfunding campaigns before. I love the idea of crowdfunding. It feels great to direct your support to projects in which you are interested, and to be able to contribute an amount that works for you. It’s like a more visible and interactive way of fundraising and donating. Crowdfunding started out mainly as a platform used for deliverable content like films and music but recently, it has expanded to include personal and cause-oriented projects such as helping victims of natural disasters or supporting the adoption of a child. Essentially, crowdfunding has become a free market solution for social causes.

GoFundMe seems to be the premier platform for cause-oriented crowdfunding, but IndieGoGo can still claim it’s place as the first personal and non-profit funding platform. IndieGoGo recently decided to make a move for GoFundMe’s crown by building

Rocky Times for Obamacare: What’s Next

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A few of my friends here in the Rocky Mountain State recently had a jagged boulder heaved their way. Sadly, I had warned them that this would be likely to occur, but they wouldn’t listen. Now, after drinking the health care reform Kool-Aid, they are the ones whining about the very initiative for which they had high hopes.

So here’s the scoop…..

Colorado HealthOp, a non-profit co-op that has been a key element of Obamacare in this state, announced last week that it will not be offering health care plans in 2016, becoming the seventh of 23 taxpayer-funded co-ops to shut down across the country. This comes on the heels of the $2 billion-plus in government funding that has already been distributed to insurance cooperatives across the nation to fuel a more competitive environment for Obamacare marketplaces.

This decision to close down is due in large part to a ruling from Colorado’s health insurance regulator, decertifying the insurer from Connect For Health Colorado, the state’s Obamacare marketplace exchange. Reports suggest that the move is linked to financial troubles at the co-op, attributed in large part to the federal government reneging on its commitment to provide $10 million for operational support under the Obamacare Risk Corridor program. As a result, it is estimated that nearly 83,000 Coloradans will struggle to find alternative