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Going from 'coverage' to direct care
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Going from 'coverage' to direct care

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The 2015 legislative session is starting and crucial topics will be raised in the next few months. Few topics will be as crucial to the future of Oklahoma as the topic of health care.

Despite the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare"), health-care costs in Oklahoma are still increasing and consuming an ever greater share of family, business, and government budgets. The hassles of bureaucracy and middlemen, even on procedures where none is required, have made medical care so expensive and burdensome.

Furthermore, both patients and doctors feel like cogs in the system, nameless and lacking personalized attention. As everyone searches for innovative reforms to make high quality health care more attainable, it seems that Oklahoma may have found the solution.

Here, a growing number of doctors, employers, and patients are using direct care arrangements to ensure that they are affordably cared for and not just covered.

Direct care arrangements are the perfect solution for doctors who feel that the current approach to purchasing health care is not allowing them to provide patients with services they need.

These arrangements allow doctors to set a fee for monthly services or just a one-time fee for specific procedures. For onetime surgical procedures, direct care arrangements increase efficiency, at a lower cost for higher quality care, for all parties involved. All this provides health care for a predictable cost for both doctors and patients.

For patients specifically, direct care can help save thousands of dollars in deductible, co-pay, and other associated health-care costs.

Doctors in Oklahoma are now providing primary care services for a fee of just $50 a month, and both patients and doctors report significant satisfaction with these sorts of arrangements.

Patients can still keep their medical coverage, but instead chose to use it only when unplanned and higher cost medical needs arise. These arrangements facilitate what every medical practice needs — a direct relationship between the patient and the doctor. Moreover, this manageable process removes unnecessary bureaucracy and middlemen simplifying health care for the patient.

With so many clear benefits, direct care arrangements should be a common sense solution. But some are already attacking these arrangements, claiming that direct care arrangements should be regulated by state insurance departments. This would be an irrational violation of the relationship between doctors and patients. Such attacks on direct care arrangements must be stopped to protect affordable health services for all Oklahomans.

This is why we have proposed legislation that would protect the relationship between doctors, patients and employers, to allow them to continue to arrange freely the payment of :are without those arrangements being subject to state insurance regulation.

Many will have to agree to disagree about the ACA. But we believe all can support policies that protect the rights of patients and doctors and that make sure patients are cared for affordably and not just covered.

David Derby, a Republican, is a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from Owasso. Rob Standridge, a Republican, is a member of the Oklahoma Senate from Norman.

We have proposed legislation that would protect the relationship between doctors, patients and employers, to allow them to continue to arrange freely the payment of care without those arrangements being subject to state insurance regulation.

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