Nebraska Law Expanding Health Freedom Now in Effect

flag-43788_960_720By Mike Maharrey

Today, a new law that will help facilitate healthcare freedom in Nebraska goes into effect.

Sen. Merv Riepe (R-Omaha) introduced Legislative Bill 817 (LB817) back in January. The new law specifies that direct primary care agreements (sometimes called medical retainer agreements) do not constitute insurance, thereby freeing doctors and patients from the onerous requirements and regulations under the state insurance code. The legislation also specifically defines a qualifying agreement.

The unicameral legislature passed LB817 by a 48-0 vote.

According to Michigan Capitol Confidential, by removing a third party payer from the equation, medical retainer agreements help both physicians and patients minimize costs. Jack Spencer writes:

Under medical retainer agreements, patients make monthly payments to a physician who in return agrees to provide a menu of routine services at no extra charge. Because no insurance company stands between patient and doctor, the hassles and expense of bureaucratic red tape are eliminated, which have resulted in dramatic cost reductions. Routine primary care services (and the bureaucracy required to reimburse them) are estimated to consume 40 cents out of every dollar spent on insurance policies, so lower premiums for a given amount of coverage are another potential benefit.

This represents the kind of cost control Obamacare promised, but failed to deliver. Last fall, Tom Woods interviewed a Kansas doctor who utilizes the direct primary care model. Dr. Josh Umbehr’s practice demonstrates the cost savings Nebraska patients could soon enjoy.

Under Obamacare, regulations define such programs as a primary care service and not a health insurance plan, and current IRS policy treats these monthly fee arrangements just like another health plan.

Several states including Idaho, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas and Missouri passed similar bills in 2015.

A FIRST STEP

Oftentimes, supporters of Obamacare criticize opponents for not having any alternative. Direct primary care offers one.

These direct patient/doctor agreements allow a system uncontrolled by government regulations to develop. It makes doctors responsive to patients, not insurance company bureaucrats or government rule-makers. Allowing patients to contract directly with doctors via medical retainer agreements opens the market. Under such agreements, market forces will set price for services based on both demand instead of relying on central planners with a political agenda. The end-result will be better care delivered at a lower cost.

A free healthcare marketplace within a state will help spur de facto nullification the federal program by providing an affordable alternative. As patients flock to these arrangements, the old system will begin to crumble.

The Republicans recently unveiled their alternative to Obamacare. It would be as onerous and unconstitutional as the program it replaces. And Obama recently floated a plan to “fix” problems in Obamacare by creating a nationalized insurance program. It’s clear we can’t count on Republicans of Democrats in Congress to ever get rid of the Affordable Health Care Act.

States will have to act I we ever want to shed ourselves from this national healthcare monstrosity.

LB817 represents a first step toward healthcare freedom in Nebraska, and creates a stepping stone to further action to nullify the onerous Affordable Care act. Once in place, Nebraskans can take further steps to fully extricate itself from Obamacare for good.

The bill goes into effect as law three calendar months after the close of the session, scheduled for April 20.

For more information on a plan to nullify the PPACA, click HERE.

Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center, where this article first appeared. He proudly resides in the original home of the Principles of ’98 – Kentucky. See his blog archive here and his article archive here. He is the author of the book, Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty. You can visit his personal website at MichaelMaharrey.com and like him on Facebook HERE
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