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Seeking Affordable Care, Markets Sidestep Obamacare

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The American health care system had become the perfect poster child for cronyism long before Obamacare went into effect. Insurance companies, health care providers, and the government have become so intertwined, it’s almost impossible to discern where one ends and the other begins.

While candidates of all ideological persuasions campaign on replacing, repealing, maintaining, or even expanding Obamacare, at this point public and private health care institutions have become so entangled there is almost no feasible way to untie the knot.

Instead of looking to Washington to fix a problem they are at least partially responsible for creating, the private market has taken matters into its own hands by providing options.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma, for example, discovered that in order to offer patients the best quality care for the lowest possible prices, they were going to have to opt out of the traditional health care system all together.

Prospective patients visiting the center’s website will notice that each procedure offered comes with its own set price tag. By choosing not to accept any insurance policies, the Surgery Center of Oklahoma is able to set its own prices, which often end up being more affordable than services rendered through a traditional hospital and then processed through a third-party insurance company.

To illustrate just how cost-effective this model is, in 2012  Reason compared the costs of a surgical procedure (a “complex bilateral sinus procedure”) performed by Dr. Jason Sigmon before he began working with the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, to afterward. While still working at a traditional hospital, the procedure costs a patient $33,505  not including fees for the anesthesiologist and surgeon. The same procedure performed by Dr. Sigmon at the Surgery Center of Oklahoma only cost his patient $5,885, which is all-inclusive.

“The pricing outlined on this website is not a teaser, nor is it a bait-and-switch ploy. It is the actual price you will pay,” the Surgery Center of Oklahoma’s website states.

For anyone who has ever tried to inquire about the cost of a surgical procedure at a regular hospital, it is almost impossible to get a definitive answer. This is because, in many cases, the hospital is able to charge more depending on the patient’s personal health insurance policy. Since each plan is different, they can charge different amounts for the same procedure..

By avoiding the endless red tape and bureaucracy innate with third party insurance companies, the Surgery Center of Oklahoma has been able to provide patient-centered care that is centered on free-market principles rather than government mandates.

One of the most appealing aspects of the free market is its resiliency. No matter how economically oppressive a government may be, the market has always found a way to meet consumer demands in spite of crippling regulation.

Reprinted with the permission of the author. 

Brittany Hunter is a Mises University alumna, blogger, and creator of digital content for Generation Opportunity.

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Brittany Hunter is a Mises University alumna, blogger, and creator of digital content for Generation Opportunity.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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