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A large part of the health care access problem faced by many Alaskans is that pointless regulations on providers make it more difficult for them to treat patients.
But as Ryan McKee, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Alaska, points out in a new op-ed in the Anchorage Daily News, lawmakers in Juneau are considering a measure that would allow doctors to spend more time with patients and less time dealing with paperwork.
“Direct health care agreements,” or direct primary care as it is also known, allows doctors to see patients under an arrangement in which patients pay a fixed, monthly fee in exchange for round-the-clock access to their doctors.
“Think of it as a gym membership for health care,” McKee writes.
Many physicians are now reluctant to offer direct primary care because the state could step erase the benefits by adding layers of bureaucracy under insurance regulations. HB 176 would eliminate that threat. And Alaskans would benefit.
“One study found that DPC patients visited the emergency room 41% less often, admitted to hospitals 20% less, and needed 13% fewer health care services overall, compared with patients who use traditional fee-for-service primary care,” McKee writes.
Direct primary care also increases affordability while improving patient outcomes. A study of one county in North Carolina showed the average patient saved $3,120 a year.
Read more from AFP-Alaska’s Ryan McKee about how HB 176 would give patients better access to better care, and free up more doctors to provide it.