In South Portland, Maine, Dr. Michael Ciampi has done more to cut the cost of health care than anything any Democrat has done in the last 200 years. He has stopped accepting insurance and slashed his prices. The price for an office visit went from $160 to just $75, and patients that need a quick diagnosis for a specific problem like an earache or sore throat will only pay $50.
At the end of last year, I lost my health insurance, and immediately discovered a whole different world where everything medical-related is much, much cheaper. Upon learning I had no insurance, my doctors dropped the price of an office visit to a little more than what my old co-pay was. My pharmacy set me up on a discount program where my prescriptions are exactly the same price as my old co-pay.
My health care costs have plummeted as a result. Easily, I am saving $5000 to $6000 on a health insurance policy I now know wasn’t saving me any money at all. All it was doing was artificially inflating policies.
Insurance isn’t the solution to rising medical costs; it is the problem. Because he has insurance, the consumer stops caring about cost and this removes market incentives. If auto insurance covered everything from oil changes to windshield wipers, both would triple in cost.
Moreover, medical professionals have to boost prices to pay for the costs involved in the byzantine world of insurance billing (especially government-insurance billing). I once billed insurance for a small durable medical equipment company that required 10 full-time people just to get reimbursed. That’s why we charged $155 for a $35 pair of crutches.
As a fairly healthy 47-year-old man, all I need and want is a catastrophic health insurance plan — a plan with a $5,000 to $10,000 deductible where I pay out-of-pocket until I am faced with a “God forbid” event.
Thanks to ObamaCare, though, what is known as a catastrophic plan is no longer legal. ObamaCare demands we all own Cadillac health insurance plans that cover things like birth control — and what do you think that is going to do to the cost of birth control?
What Dr. Ciampi is doing is what I hope many in the medical field will do. If we as Americans take it upon ourselves to remove the middle man of insurance, we can fix the problem associated with skyrocketing costs instead of empowering the government to do it for us.
The only way to break the back of ObamaCare is to starve it for money. I am and will refuse to buy health insurance until I get sick. I won’t feed the beast. I will pay the fine. I am not a lawbreaker. But the fine is ridiculously cheaper than Obama’s mandated Cadillac, wealth-redistribution scheme.
Fight the power.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC