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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Medical Savings Accounts

What’s wrong with Medical Savings Accounts? The short answer is nothing. The long answer is they keep getting wrecked by government regulations.

I have tried to help get Medical Savings Accounts for everyone ever since I read the excellent book Patient Power co-authored by economist John C. Goodman.

You should be able to go to any bank, start a Medical Savings Account (MSA), and take charge of your healthcare. You should be able to go to any doctor you want, any hospital you want, and undergo any treatment that is beneficial. Your MSA should be tax free. Your employer and anyone else, a relative for example, should be able to donate to it tax free. When you die you should be able to leave it to your children or other family - also tax free.

You should never be limited to a network of physicians. Your life is at stake, your health is at stake, and the choices and options should always be yours. Any limit is rationing because it takes away your choices.

There are only two kinds of healthcare: 1. Patient Power healthcare or 2. Third-party controlled healthcare. If you believe in freedom, you do not want any of the types of healthcare where third parties have the power over your life and your health.

When you go into a clinic or hospital the first question they ask should be, “How can I help you?”

Today, when you enter a Healthcare facility the first question I usually see asked is: “What is your insurance?” Immediately, you know that the entity with the money is more important than you are. There is an immediate transfer of power, and transfer of concern from you, the patient, to some uncaring third party that holds the purse strings. Obamacare is the biggest transfer of power from patients to uncaring third parties in history.

Getting MSAs going has been frustrating. I once wrote a few emails to some physician colleagues about how frustrating Medical Savings Accounts are, because they are so complicated and time consuming. I thought there must be a better way. It was a bad move when I look back on it. Even with the ridiculous and unnecessary regulations in existence today, Medical Savings Accounts are far better than anything else we have now.

You should be able to go to any bank and start a Medical Savings Account and be done with it. It should be simple, easy, and convenient. You should not have to read a ridiculous number of pages of instructions and regulations to do it

The Internet, new statistical methods, and new technology mean that we can finally create a true free market in healthcare with powerful consumers. We can have a free market with complete price transparency and product transparency. This would revolutionize medicine. This would drive innovation. This would benefit the most people.

Remember this: There has never been a more effective way to drive prices down in the history of the world than the free market. Free markets are run by free people, using free speech, while working with price transparency and product transparency.

We need a marketing campaign to get Patient Power healthcare. What is the best slogan?

There is something catchy about “Dr. Ben Carson Care.” Would he lend his name to such a movement? He is already on record for Medical Savings Accounts being started at birth. He has also said that he believes in logic, not politics.

For the money we have wasted, we could have already given Medical Savings Accounts and health insurance to many of the uninsured. We could have spent all that wasted money on patients instead of bureaucracy.

Medical Savings Accounts need to be instituted properly. They must be simple, easy, and voluntary. They must be available to anyone who wants one but must not be forced upon anyone who already has healthcare they like. MSAs should be easy to combine with catastrophic healthcare insurance. We must have price transparency and product transparency to go with MSAs.

The more you pay doctors and hospitals directly, without uncaring third parties in the middle, the more power you have to get the care you want. You become a customer that providers care about, instead of being a meaningless number.

Singapore almost did it right. They instituted Medical Savings Accounts, but at the last minute added a government regulation that took away Patient Power. I was there at the Ministry of Health in Singapore. We know what they did wrong back then, and now we can do Medical Savings Accounts even better here in the USA. In fact, my visit to Singapore was a long time ago. They may have perfected their Medical Savings Accounts by now. Many good people there were trying very hard to do healthcare right. Singapore by the way is a country of just over 5 million people and is relatively better off by economic numbers than its surrounding neighbors. In addition to Singapore, many other countries have come to realize the consumer empowering value of Medical Savings Accounts.

So, I ask again what’s better than an MSA?

Probably an MSA combined with catastrophic healthcare insurance run by a company using the latest technology to reduce your paperwork and confusion down to almost zero. You need one simple plastic card, or cell phone app, that organizes everything for you and keeps your balances and bills clear and understandable. Private companies can innovate and do this for us.

Repeal Obamacare and give us Medical Savings Accounts instead. Let us be in control of our healthcare. Let us go to any doctor, hospital, clinic, or undergo any treatment we want. It’s our lives at stake. Let us have Patient Power.

We need "Patient Power healthcare" not third party bureaucracies and “death panels.”

One day, you should be able to go to any doctor, clinic, or hospital, and their first question should be “How can we help you?”

Health Savings Accounts by Dr. Ben Carson

Remove the Caps on Health Savings Accounts featuring Dr. Ellen McKnight
Dr. Ellen McKnight
The Free Market Medical Association

Snap Health

The Self-Pay Patient

Pricing Healthcare

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons


Benjamin Rush Institute and Benjamin Rush Society
"The Benjamin Rush Society embraces thoughtful, well-reasoned discourse regarding health care solutions that support the principle of liberty."

Free Market Health Group
"The Free Market Health Group Aims to Create a Transparent System of Medicine and Utilizes Free Market Principles."

Surgery Center of Oklahoma
"Free market-loving, price-displaying, state-of-the-art, AAAHC accredited, doctor owned, multispecialty surgical facility in central OK."

Independent Physicians for Patient Independence (ip4pi)
"Independent physicians for patient independence deny insurance and government limitations on patient care."

Copyright © Bradley R. Hennenfent, M.D.