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Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Health Care Reform Summit - How Do We Lower Costs?

President Obama asked: "How do we lower costs for families?" Answer: Tell patients the prices of everything in advance (except in emergencies) or they don't have to pay. You cannot lower costs if no one knows the price of anything. What is the price of a CBC, Mr. President? - Bradley Hennenfent, M.D., physician & economist

Price transparency is the most basic thing that can be done to lower costs. As soon as people realize that their prescription costs $100 at one pharmacy but only $4 at Walmart, costs will be pushed down. As soon as people realize that an MRI exam is $3,000 at one facility but only $900 at another, they will force prices down.

Patients cannot spend their Medicare Money, their Medicaid money, their insurance company money, or their out-of-pocket money wisely, if they do not know what anything costs.

My friend recently had open-heart surgery. He was not told the price of anything in advance during the entire work-up before surgery, during the hospital stay for surgery, or during the post-operative period. He was not even told the prices of simple lab tests, or for the rehabilitation sessions.

Not knowing prices is why we have runaway health care costs. Third parties are setting prices with unsavory backroom deals. We need to stop this now. Stop the secret prices.

The quote above of President Obama comes from the Health Care Summit of 02/25/2010.

See my health care reform plan "The People's Health Care Reform Plan" on Facebook here:

Or see my plan here:

- Bradley Hennenfent, M.D., physician & economist

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Dozen Health Care Reform Plans for the Health Care Reform Summit

Once again patients will not even be in the room when health care reform is discussed. Yet, I am desperately hoping that the “Health Care Reform Summit” will take into account ideas that empower patients. Patients live or die depending on how well our health care system works.

Health care reform needs to start by telling patients the prices of everything. You cannot lower prices without knowing prices. Out of control costs in health care are supposed to be why health care reform is being done in the first place. End the secret prices.

There are some excellent ideas that empower patients in the twelve health care reform plans below.

1. “The People’s Health Care Reform Plan” will end all the secrets being kept from patients now. Under this plan, prices will no longer be kept hidden from patients, and the secret inside medical information patients need to know to save their own lives will be revealed. The full plan can be found here:
or here:

2. “The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare” by John Mackey. This plan would remove the ridiculous obstacles to setting up Tax-Free Health Savings Accounts. It would end the unfair tax burden against individuals buying health insurance, force insurance companies to compete across state lines, reduce government mandates, enact tort reform, and enact Medicare reform. Finally, this plan would also make prices transparent, just like the first plan would. See the John Mackey Plan here:
Or on the CEO’s Blog here:

3. “Five Ways to Reform Health Care” by governor Tim Pawlenty. The Pawlenty plan would: 1. Incentivize patients to be smart consumers. 2. Pay for performance, rewarding cures instead of procedures. 3. Enact liability reform (4) Allow interstate health-care insurance. and 5. Modernize health insurance. The Tim Pawlenty plan can be found at:

4. “Let's be Reasonable” by Richard R. Kelley, M.D. Dr. Kelly’s plan would give us “...individual choice and free market competition, tax and geographic equity, personal responsibility, and tort reform.” Dr. Kelley’s plan can be seen here:

5. “Free Market Approach to Health Care Reform” by the Cato Institute. The Cato Institute would “pursue a uniquely American solution, one that builds on free markets, competition and choice.” You can see their plan here:

6. “The Patients’ Choice Act of 2009,” by Dr. Tom Coburn. This plan clearly aims to put patients and doctors more in control of health care decisions. Dr. Coburn sums up the plan this way: "As a practicing physician, I have seen first-hand how giving government more control over health care has failed to make health care more affordable and accessible. The American people deserve health care reform that will work, not another round of so-called reform that repeats the same failed policies of the past. Congress and the administration have the opportunity to pursue bold reform and a fresh start. The Patients’ Choice Act will provide every American with access to affordable health care without a tax increase, more debt and waiting lines.” This plan can be seen here:

7. “Ten GOP Health Ideas for Obama” by Newt Gingrich. These are ten patient-centered ideas. See the Gingrich plan here:

8. “A Real Solution for Covering the Uninsured” by Peter Ferrara. This plan would start by reforming Medicaid, which is currently ensuring substandard care to the poor. This plan also creates a safety net for the poor by creating risk pools. See this plan here:

10. “Health Savings and Affordability Act of 2009,” by Steve Austria. This bill would allow a deduction for the health insurance costs of individuals and would expand health savings accounts. See the plan here:

11. “Empowering Patients First Act” by Dr. Tom Price. This bill aims to reduce costs by lessening mandates and addressing tort reform. This bill also proposes State by State high risk pools for patients denied private insurance. See this plan here:

12. “Health Care Freedom of Choice Act” by Michele Bachmann. This plan strongly addresses high health care costs. It would end tax credits that discouraged direct doctor-patient relationships. The plan strongly empowers who are trying to get health care insurance as individuals. The plan takes away medical decisions from bureaucrats and gives such decisions back to doctors and their patients. This plan will also allow your medical and dental expenses to be tax deductible.

12. “Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM)” by Dr. Paul Hsieh “promotes the philosophy of individual rights, personal responsibility, and free market economics in health care.” He addresses skyrocketing health insurance costs in his letter-to-the-editor of the New York Times here:

My qualifications for health care reform are here:

by Bradley Hennenfent, M.D., Physician & Economist

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Four Things to do for the Health Care Reform Summit

For the health care reform summit:

1. Protect the doctor-patient relationship, and nurse-patient relationship, FOR PATIENTS.
2. Facilitate all prices being transparent (except in emergencies) FOR PATIENTS.
3. Facilitate the social networking of physicians, nurses, and allied health care professionals to rate all the medical studies and treatments FOR PATIENTS.
4. Improve the science of medicine, by using the same social networking, to let physicians, nurses, and all allied health care professionals direct medical research that can save lives right now FOR PATIENTS.

If the President focuses on what patients need, and ignores all the third parties, he can get health care reform done, because THE PEOPLE are more powerful than either party or any special interest group.

Patients must be told the prices of everything in advance, because getting health care costs under control is the primary objective of health care reform. Runaway costs are why the system is broken. This cannot be fixed unless patients are told the prices of lab tests, x-rays, and medications BEFORE they buy them, so they can shop around, and drive prices down.

My friend recently underwent open heart surgery. During the entire pre-operative workup, hospital stay for surgery, and post-operative care period he was never told the price of anything in advance. Patients cannot spend their Insurance Company money, their Medicare money, their Medicaid money, or their out-of-pocket money wisely if they don't know the prices.

There are non-partisan physicians and patients who should have more responsibility for health care reform. Health care reform should be scientific, not political. The attitudes of health care reformers should reflect those of my colleagues:

Dr. Hal Scherz: "Doctors don't take care of Democrats or Republicans. We take care of patients, and they deserve something better from Washington than what they have been receiving." -

Dr. Jeffrey English: "I do not take care of Democrats or Republicans in my practice, I take care of patients." -

Dr. Richard Armstrong: "Not right, not left, but about what is right for patients and physicians."

And there has been no mention by the government plans of the latest Internet technology, social networking, which can be used to greatly improve the science of medicine. This technology can be used to give patients secret inside medical information that has always been kept from them in the past. It is time to throw out the old ideas and incorporate better new ones.

Please see "The People's Health Care Reform Plan" on Facebook here:

And see "The People's Health Care Reform Plan" on here:

by Bradley Hennenfent, M.D., Physician & Economist
Copyright (c) 2010 Bradley Hennenfent, M.D.

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White House Responds to "The People's Health Care Reform Plan"

Here is the letter, probably a form letter, I got back from the White House:

The White House - Presidential Correspondence

Dear Bradley Hennenfent:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I have heard from countless Americans struggling to afford health insurance and health professionals striving to provide care. I appreciate your perspective.

There is broad consensus among the American people on
the need for affordable, high-quality health care. The rising cost of
health care is the most pressing financial challenge for families and
our Nation, and controlling this cost is essential to bringing down
the Federal deficits we inherited. We must end unfair insurance
practices that leave millions without insurance, deny people access
to coverage and expose them to extraordinary burdens. Now is the
time to move forward and get health insurance reform done.

Since I took office, we have done more to improve health
care than we have in the previous decade. I signed H.R. 2 to
provide coverage for millions of children in the Children's Health
Insurance Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act to invest in computerized medical records and preventive

Still, more must be done to lower costs, expand coverage,
and improve the quality of health care. Health insurance reform
must provide more security and stability to those who have health
insurance; make sure those who do not have insurance can find
affordable options; and lower the cost of health care for our
families, our businesses, and our government. Reform will benefit
seniors by protecting and strengthening Medicare, closing the
"donut-hole" gap in coverage for prescription drugs, and providing
free preventive care.

Looking forward, there are tough choices to be made, and I
will seek to bring employers, workers, health care providers, and
patients together to create a system that delivers high-quality
health care and puts the Nation on a sustainable, long-term fiscal
path. To learn more about my Health Insurance Reform Plan or to
share a personal story, please join me online at: For further information on health care
and assistance that may be available to you, you may call 1-800-
FED-INFO or visit:

I share the sense of urgency that many Americans have
voiced. I watched as my ailing mother struggled with stacks of
insurance forms at the end of her life. This is not who we are as a
Nation; together, we will fix it.


Barack Obama

To be a part of our agenda for change, join us at

What I had written about was about the best way to reform health care.

“The People’s Health Care Reform Plan” empowers patients, not third parties. It is non-partisan and does not benefit the Republicans or the Democrats; it helps patients.

“The People’s Health Care Reform Plan” says that there will be no more secrets kept from patients. The plan says:

1. Prices will no longer be kept secret from patients, and2. The secret, life-saving, inside medical information that only doctors, nurses, and allied health care professional know, will be made public for patients.

To see "The People's Health Care Reform Plan on Facebook, go to:

"The People's Health Care Reform Plan - Distribution Party - 2010" at:

To see it on blogger go to:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Facebookers Rise Up to Support “The People’s Health Care Reform Plan”

Doctors, nurses, patients, and hundreds of “Facebookers” are working to make “The People’s Health Care Reform Plan” go viral on the Internet and offline.

My mantra is “Empower Patients; Not Third Parties.” That’s why I wrote the “The People’s Health Care Reform Plan.” It’s a simple plan, only five pages in length, compared to the 2,000 page monstrosities that congress has come up with.

“The People’s Health Care Reform Plan” says that there will be no more secrets kept from patients. The plan says:

1. Prices will no longer be kept secret from patients, and
2. The secret, life-saving, inside medical information that only doctors, nurses, and allied health care professional know, will be made public for patients.

Initially, I was very frustrated. I was seemingly one of the “most qualified people in the world” (see my credentials here: to speak about health care reform, but I had no effective way get my ideas out to patients, politicians, and the people.

For example, I wrote to Senator Max Baucus, who was put in charge of ObamaCare, in May 2009, and got this answer back: “Thank you for submitting an email to my office. I value your input and assure you that my staff will review your message as soon as possible. Due to the large amount of email I receive on a daily basis, it may take my staff up to three weeks to respond to your email. If you have an emergency, please call my office directly at (800) 332-6106 (from MT) or (406) 657-6790.”

My notes indicate that I called four more times, even trying to track down Andrew somebody, who was supposed to be the senator’s health care aid. I never heard back. So, much for “the door is always open.”

One day, two college buddies suggested I get on Facebook. Months later my sister gave me a tutorial. Then, I paid for a couple of tutorials, and finally, I got it. I discovered the power of social networking.

In July 2009, I had 43 friends on Facebook, mostly family, high school friends, and college buddies. But after getting through my learning curve, I realized that Facebook was too powerful not to use for health care reform. I started posting to Facebook about health care reform that empowers patients. Today, I have 3,723 “friends” on Facebook. So, on average, I am adding 20 friends a day who care about patients first. That’s powerful. That’s better than I ever did with blogging.

One person I became friends with on Facebook was Dan Samaria (880 friends, 473 mutual friends), an entrepreneur and publisher of the online newspaper, The Gold Coast Chronicle.

He “messaged” me that he liked my posts, and asked if I would write a feature article for The Gold Coast Chronicle. I was hesitant, because I thought I was starting to get somewhere just by publishing to Facebook and Blogger. On the other hand, I was working on my own health care reform plan, and going through version after version, to make it more understandable in order to reach the widest audience possible. So, I accepted.

Meanwhile, I attended a Tea Party meeting where I met Jerry Kingsbury, who was not even on Facebook yet. Jerry is a nurse, who like me had health trouble, retired, and moved to Florida. In fact, Jerry was lucky enough in December of 2006 to have a bi-lateral lung transplant at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. Fortunately, everything has been looking good since then. Jerry is now on Facebook (13 friends, 6 friends in common) and is learning the ropes.

I got advice from everyone I could, one thing led to another, and “The People’s Health Care Reform Plan” was first published in The Gold Coast Chronicle at:

Then, I got the idea to use the Facebook “Event” feature. I posted “The People’s Health Care Reform Plan - Distribution Party” as an event, and as of today over 263 people have signed up to distribute the plan to their friends and politicians.

Jerry Kingsbury really came through. He did a mass mailing of the plan to every United States Senator and every Florida State representative, only charging me for the postage.

Devin Norris, a radio personality, read the entire plan, on his Wake Up America (Radio Show) On WAPR.FM --

One politician wrote me that he was going to use my plan as the "Medical Plank" in his platform.

Many bloggers have reposted or commented on my plan.

One woman told me she e-mailed the plan to dozens of friends and politicians.

Some Facebookers simply reposted the plan to their Facebook friends.

What have I learned from all this? I’ve learned that it’s hard to get politicians to listen. Although, bipartisan in my approach, I did not feel the Democrats or the Republicans listened to me. However, the Tea Party listened. The Facebookers listened. THE PEOPLE listened.

I will leave you with two of my favorite quotes by my fellow physicians:

Dr. Jeffrey English: "I do not take care of Democrats or Republicans in my practice, I take care of patients."

Dr. Richard Armstrong: "Not right, not left, but about what is right for patients and physicians."

Bradley R. Hennenfent, M.D., Physician and Economist
Staff writer for The Gold Coast Chronicle

This article will also be published on my profile notes at

Copyright © 2010 Bradley R. Hennenfent, M.D., Physician and Economist. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010


President Obama is scheduled to talk to the Republicans about health care reform on Thursday, February 25th.

Please help get "The People’s Health Care Reform Plan" in front of all politicians before then. "The People's Health Care Reform Plan" says that:

1. prices can no longer be kept secret from patients, and
2. that inside medical information that only doctors, nurses, and allied health care professionals know, can no longer be kept secret from patients.

You can find the plan here:

Or on Facebook here:

You will not be doing this alone. In fact, 262 people have signed up on Facebook to redistribute the plan.


A good way to email your senators and representative is to go to: or

At - - you can search for your state in the upper right.
At - - you can put in your zip code in the upper left.


"The People’s Health Care Reform Plan" is about no longer keeping secrets from patients. Under the plan, prices will no longer be kept secret from patients. In addition, the inside medical information that only doctors, nurses, and other health care providers know will be shared with patients so more lives can be saved.


"The People’s Health Care Reform Plan" can be found on my blog here:

And it can be found on Facebook here:


To send the plan to President Obama go here:

Be sure to click the box next to: - A response is requested.

The President’s website says: "President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history. That begins with taking comments and questions from you, the public, through our website."


Bradley Hennenfent, M.D.
physician & economist

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dr. Kevin Pezzi on Health Care

Dr. Kevin Pezzi (Emergency Medicine): "President Obama asserts that his healthcare plan would not create 'death panels.' While there won't be any bureaucracy labeled as such, there will be countless cold, uncaring bureaucrats telling doctors how to practice medicine. They will insist that we order fewer tests and procedures, and always choose the third-rate option if it's cheaper. If a patient dies while waiting to be treated, or dies from his third-rate treatment, Obama hopes that you are dumb enough to think that the patient died from a doctor's mistake, not from a government death panel. Obama and his lawyer friends want people to believe that doctors are the ones who should be held accountable for the results of this government-mandated rationing . . . and if you don't think rationing is coming, I have a bridge I want to sell to you. The government was rationing healthcare years ago when it had a budget surplus. The government will assuredly not be any more generous now that we're in a recession and our national debt has grown by trillions of dollars."

Dr. Kevin Pezzi is on Facebook at:

Dr. Bradley Hennenfent is on Facebook at

Friday, February 12, 2010

Health Care Reform is Easy: Empower Patients

Health Care Reform is easy. When you take power away from patients they die. I've seen it my entire career. Simply empower patients instead of third parties and you will be doing the right thing when it comes to health care reform. Stop keeping secrets from patients. Remember the scams: inflated prices, unnecessary hysterectomies, vaccine side effects, the Tuskegee Experiment, lobotomies, Insurance denials, and Medicare denials?

All of these things happen when power is taken away from patients.

Please take a look at my health care reform plan. Two-hundred-forty-three people have signed up on as of today to redistribute my plan to their friends and politicians. It is a non-partisan plan that both Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree upon, because it empowers patients, not third parties. It's also simple.

You can also see the latest version of the plan here:

- Bradley Hennenfent, M.D., physician and economist

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The People's Health Care Reform Plan - 02/10/2010

by Bradley Hennenfent, M.D., Physician & Economist

“The People's Health Care Reform Plan” is going viral on the Internet. Hundreds of "Facebookers" have signed up to redistribute the plan to their friends and politicians via e-mail, Facebook, and fax.

President Obama said, “...if anyone from either party has a better approach ... let me know.”

“The People's Health Care Reform Plan” is a better plan and a non-partisan solution. This plan will make PATIENTS MORE POWERFUL, and the Government, corporations, and insurance companies (crony capitalism) less powerful. This plan will reduce costs, increase access, and save lives. It's also simple.

1. Tell patients what everything costs - no more secrets!
2. Give doctors, nurses, and allied health care professionals social networking so they can share inside, life-saving, medical information, which only they know, with patients - no more secrets!
3. Tort Reform.
4. Distribute “The People's Health Care Reform Plan” to everyone in America and around the world via Facebook, E-mail, etc.

Congress must facilitate that patients be told the price of everything in health care in advance, except in true emergencies, or they do not have to pay.

Patients cannot spend money from Medicare, Medicaid, Insurance Companies, Unions, or their own money, wisely if they do not know what anything costs. It's these hidden prices that cause monopolies that drive up our prices and result in unsavory backroom political deals. It's not knowing the price of anything that enables Medicare, Medicaid, and corporate fraud to occur so easily.

How can we know if we are overcharged if we never know what anything costs in the first place? How can we revolutionize health care if we don't know what costs too much? We need to know the prices.

Congress must facilitate an open-to-the-public Doctor's, Nurse's, and allied health care professional's, social Networking Website with features like,,, and, combined with the National Library of Medicine.

Allow all 800,000 doctors in the USA, all 2.9 million nurses, all pharmacists, all dentists, and all allied health care professionals to rank all the medical studies on Medline (and elsewhere) for patients. Allow all doctors and nurses to rank all the treatment options for all diagnoses as well. We need to have product reviews for all treatments. This will drastically improve “The Science of Medicine.”

Let doctors, nurses, and health professionals be anonymous, or use their own names if they wish, and be free from lawsuits for anything they write. Give doctors, nurses, and allied health care professionals, Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits for this. A government panel of physicians who are public health statisticians can evaluate medical care as well, as long as that panel is not more powerful than practicing physicians and nurses on the front lines.

Also allow doctors, nurses, and allied health care professionals to give free medical education over the Internet to patients. Not treatment, but education. Empower patients with knowledge. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and all health care professionals love talking medicine and helping people, and will be willing to do this for free, if in turn they are free from liability. Give them CME credits for this as well. Finally, patients, who sometimes know more than doctors and nurses, should be brought into the rating system. Let's all help each other.

In addition, allow all the doctors and pharmacists to rank off-label uses for medications. This will help patients get medications they need, even when they are not approved for that specific use by the Food and Drug Administration. If a new and effective antibiotic is created, and it is approved for pneumonia, but can save someone's foot from being amputated according to the medical literature, doctors, and pharmacists, it should be allowed immediately.

The social networking of health care professionals will greatly improve "The Science of Medicine," and will demonstrate what studies need to be done, as we see how one professional group is critical of the science behind another group's practices. Make sure the results are public and are separated into specialties so the public can see what various types of doctors and health care professionals believe.

This networking will prevent a central government panel, or insurance company panels, from being in charge of health care decisions, as we must give the most credence to practicing health care professionals and patients. This will help put patients, doctors, nurses, and health care professionals back in charge of medical decisions. This is the kind of public information that will prevent unnecessary hysterectomies (remember that scandal?) and other medical scams by informing patients about what is really going on in medicine.

This social networking site should also help direct federal research spending to solve controversies in medical care. All health care professionals should be able to suggest studies that need to be done to improve patient care. Doctors, nurses, and all health professionals should prioritize the need for studies at the National Institutes of Health and by private industry. Health care providers need help right now, and there is little correlation between the studies that doctors and nurses need done immediately and what the NIH spends our research money on.

"No health care reform without tort reform" should be the litmus test for any health care reform bill before congress. It's been estimated that tort reform could save over 200 billion dollars per year by ridding the system of expensive defensive medicine practices and of frivolous lawsuits. When significant tort reform is not present, you know that third parties are actually driving health care reform, not the people.

DISTRIBUTE “The People's Health Care Reform Plan”
In this section, I ask everyone who reads this plan to distribute it to others via e-mail, Facebook, and other means. The plan can be found at, and at under events (or notes).

This health care reform plan is based on the truism that: "Absolute power corrupts absolutely," which is attributed to Lord Acton in 1887. If the Government becomes too powerful it will become corrupt and we will have Obama's "Death Panels" as predicted by Sarah Palin. If the corporations and insurance companies become too powerful with crony capitalism, they will become corrupt and we will have denials, hassles, and barriers to care - "Death Panels" again. The answer is to make patients and health care providers more powerful.

Eight hundred thousand doctors, 2.9 million nurses, 217,000 pharmacists, 150,000 dentists, 100,000 respiratory therapists, 90,000 physical therapists, 300,000 laboratory technicians, all the other health care professionals, and 300 million patients can share information using today's technology and keep the health care power in the people's hands, instead of in the hands of third parties, which always become corrupt over time when given too much power.

I have tried very hard to come up with a simple health care reform plan that would be bipartisan and would save the most lives at the lowest possible cost. This plan can be adopted right now. This plan puts the power back in the hands of the patients, doctors, nurses, and allied health care professionals and TAKES IT AWAY from the Government, corporations, and insurance companies.

Health care reform is life and death; it's not politics. We need to know what everything costs in health care just like we do every other good or service, and we need to know what doctors, nurses, and all health professionals know, or we can never make good decisions. This is the health care reform revolution that will save the most lives.
You want to be in charge of your health care and you don't want third parties coming between you and your doctor. You want to retain control over your own body. Let them know it's your life, and you want to save it from third party rationing. This plan empowers patients, it tells the people what everything costs, and it shares with them everything that medical professionals know. The only way we can get control of health care is to get control of the prices and the information.

You can sign up for the Facebook event at:!/event.php?eid=278494234024&index=1

The People's Health Care Reform Plan was written (01/18/2010) by:

Bradley Hennenfent, M.D., Physician & Economist
Facebook Group:

(c) Copyright 2010 by Bradley Hennenfent, M.D., all rights reserved. However you may freely redistribute this intact essay or portions of it as long as the original meaning is not changed and attribution is given.

The latest version of “The People’s Health Care Reform Plan” can always be found at

The initial version of the plan was originally published in the online newspaper, Gold Coast Chronicle, on January 19th, 2010. Available at:

You may want to join the Facebook Page:

Patients Doctors & Nurses Taking Over Health Care Reform

Thank you.
Bradley Hennenfent, M.D.
Physician & Economist