RICHMOND, Va. (April 21, 2016) – The Virginia legislature rejected the Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s proposed amendment to a bill that would help facilitate healthcare freedom and set the foundation to nullify Obamacare, sending it back to his desk for his final consideration.
Rep. R. Steven Landes introduced House Bill 685 (HB685). 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.
The House approved the measure 97-0.The Senate approved an amended version of HB685 by a 23-17 vote on March 9. The amendments were technical in nature and did not alter the overall effect of the bill, and the House concurred the next day, sending it to McAuliffe’s desk.
The governor rejected the bill, sending it back with a recommendation that it not go into effect unless reenacted by the 2017 Session of the General Assembly. In other words, the bill would have had to go through the legislative process all over again next year. The House rejected the amendment by a 34-66 vote. McAuliffe now has 30 days to sign the bill into law or veto it.
According to Michigan Capitol Confidential, by removing a third party payer from the equation, medical retainer agreements help both physicians and patients minimize costs. Jack Spencer writes:
“Under medical retainer agreements, patients make monthly payments to a physician who in return agrees to provide a menu of routine services at no extra charge. Because no insurance company stands between patient and doctor, the hassles and expense of bureaucratic red tape are eliminated, which have resulted in dramatic cost reductions. Routine primary care services (and the bureaucracy required to reimburse them) are estimated to consume 40 cents out of every dollar spent on insurance policies, so lower premiums for a given amount of coverage are another potential benefit.”
This represents the kind of cost control Obamacare promised, but failed to deliver.
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.
Several states including Idaho, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas and Missouri passed similar bills in 2015.
A FIRST STEP
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 both demand instead of relying on central planners with a political agenda. The end-result will be better care delivered at a lower cost.
A free 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, the old system will begin to crumble.
Passage of HB685 would represent a first step toward healthcare freedom in Virginia, and would create a stepping stone to further action to nullify the onerous Affordable Care act. Once in place, Virginians can take further steps to fully extricate itself from Obamacare for good.
For more information on a plan to nullify the PPACA, click HERE.
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