I just discovered, thanks to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, three ways we can improve access and decrease healthcare cost here in Michigan.

According to an article I just read, a panel of experts recently met in Lansing to discuss healthcare costs in Michigan.  Apparently Michigan is not performing well in this area.

This panel of four experts, though, believes they have three ways in which we can not only decrease healthcare cost, but improve access.  They shared their ideas at an event called “Free Market Solutions to Problems in Health Care”.

They believe Michigan should:

  • loosen scope of practice restrictions on nurse practitioners
  • facilitate more direct primary care doctor practices
  • repeal the state’s certificate of need law

My thought is this: why not try whatever we can do to reduce healthcare cost and improve access to healthcare professionals in a safe manner?

When it comes to nurse practitioners, the research has shown that these practitioners can deliver safe and effective care when it comes to many common aliments, just as well as doctors can.

Currently there are:

  • 21 states that do allow “full practice”: full practice is when nurse practitioners are allowed to independently manage patients and almost fully prescribe medicine
  • 17 states have “reduced practice”: reduced practice states are where the nurse practitioners can prescribe some medications and oversee patients with some limitations
  • 12 states that impose a “restricted” practice: in restricted practice states the nurse practitioners are blocked from independent practice and must operate under the supervision of a licensed physician

Michigan is one of the 12 states that restrict nurse practitioners.

A second reform could be to allow an agreement between a patient and a doctor, where the doctor charges a flat monthly fee to deliver healthcare to their patients.  This delivery would include access to their doctor by phone or email among other services.

A doctor from Brighton Michigan testified in front of this panel that he charges a $50 per month fee for an individual and $135 for a family of four. That fee “covers annual exams, up to 25 office visits, and almost anything that can be done in a doctor’s office. Prices for exams and procedures are often as little as 10 percent of the cost through traditional insurance”.

The third reform would be to get rid of the Certificate of Need.  As stated in the article, the Certificate of Need law “requires would-be providers who want to open or expand a facility or add new diagnostic tools to apply for permission from a board whose members often include competitors. Applicants must also pay a nonrefundable fee of up to $45,000. There is then a public hearing, where incumbent providers who would prefer not to have any new competition have an opportunity to protest. Then there is a fact-finding report by a state agency”.

All of the above possible reforms have proven to be effective in other states, so why not give them a try in Michigan?  I believe many of us have all encountered some difficulty in accessing healthcare, and paying the cost of that healthcare.  The Affordable Healthcare Act has proven to not be as effective as it was sold to us, and in fact many people are finding it much more expensive then what was promised to us.  In fact, many health insurance companies are dropping out of the ACA system due to unsustainable cost.

Many feel that was the intent of the federal government, which would then allow them to ride in on their “white” horses and save the day by instituting a single payer system.  That single payer system will them give them the ability to not only govern our lives outside of our bodies, but also inside.

Let’s talk about this today on The Live with Renk Show which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon. To let me know your thoughts during the show please call (269) 441-9595.

Or please feel free to start a discussion and write your thoughts in the comment section.