Acton Institute Powerblog

Acton Commentary: “Patients’ Choice Act — A Better Prescription”

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Today Dr. Donald Condit looks at a new federal proposal called the Patients’ Choice Act, which promises more freedom in choosing health care insurance. “The PCA will enhance patient and family ability to afford health care insurance and incentivize healthier lifestyles,” Condit writes. “In addition, it would surpass other options in fulfilling our social responsibility to the poor and vulnerable.”

Read the commentary on the Acton Website and comment on it here.

Brittany Hunter


  • Karen

    Well written, Dr. Condit. Few people know that the government already provides 50% of healthcare. The socially just thing to do is help people help themselves and take care of each other vs passing off our responsibilities to an impersonal government that cares more about power and control than about people.We need a history lesson and encouragement to take back our health care decisions.

    “But, as the language of the PCA warns, expanding the reach of government would create a health care system displaying “the compassion of the IRS, the efficiency of the post office, and the incompetence of Katrina.” The proposed PCA bill will instead empower patients, with the helping hand of their doctors.”

  • Greg

    It is great to see a doctor who isn’t promoting more government intervention into the reform of our health care system. It seems medical schools suggest to students the government should take over the system….because the free-market is greedy, profit-driven and doesn’t belong in the health care access equation. Fortunately, the free-market is the real reason so much medical advancement has surfaced in the U.S.. If we can couple a free-market approach with our social (spiritual?) obligation to assist, feed, clothe, house those in need and on the fringel, we (the US) can stop looking to other failed medical systems in the world and create a unique successful one. Let’s cease the debate about which country we should model our system like and create our own that incorporates all that is good with the free market and all that is good about American compassion. Additionally, let’s not suggest our states and federal government can do it better….like Dr. Condit says, they’ve been managing (mis-managing?) half of our health care/health insurance expenditures and are about to become insolvent to the detriment of its’ people and those who follow us.

  • Sam

    This was a good, well reasoned article, with good ideas. however, it always amazes me that the government is so concerned at health care or social security benefits, primarily to the elderly while, at the same time, giving billions or trillions to other countries or wasting money on outragious proects/ear marks…how sad to see elderly people in the supermarket with 2 or 3 items in their carts. The majority of these people have worked hard, payed their dues and now society resents having to give them the relatively few dollars needed for them to live, while providing welfare for millions of strong young people well able to work. How lopsided is that? I wish Acton would address this issue at some point. The government so often speaks of social security funds running out…while massive spending, often useless, wasted spending abounds…let’s take care of our elderly and honor them…they have done their part. Let’s not discard them or dishonor them like some wasted, useless article…Sam

  • I belong to an organization that is researching the different plans that are being presented. This is what one of our members sent to me. She is retired from the medical field.
    Hi Theresa:
    I just finished reading over the Patients’ Choice act. It’s obvious that a great deal of work and research went into formulating it. It represents one possible way of fixing the multiple problems facing our present health care delivery system. There are many ideas in the plan that are far superior to what we have in place now. But, if I am being totally honest, I’m sorry to say that I was not overly impressed with the what I read.
    The number of reviewers/panels this plan would create continues to perpetuate a system that has not worked previously. There’s no mention of who these individuals would be, i.e. finance experts, medical personnel, insurance adjusters, patients, etc. or how they would be chosen, whether they would be volunteers or salaried, etc. We need to minimize the administrative costs and put the monies into direct patient care. The elimination of fraud, which is rampant in all sectors of health care, seems to be the first necessary step in moving forward. The plan addresses fairness and the elimination of waste but does not detail how that will be accomplished other than more reviews by more people. More specifics are required.
    Secondly, the emphasis on prevention is especially interesting to me. The ONLY way preventive medicine can realistically work is if and when the patient sees a direct and immediate return. In other words, some form of reward. The plan states that Seniors would pay less for Medicare if they adopted preventive health lifestyle changes. What about those already living a healthy lifestyle? Who would judge this and what degree of change would be mandated?
    Seniors were the only group singled out to receive a monetary reward for altering their lifestyles. Prevention needs to begin at the earliest phases of life. Therefore, the caregivers also need to be rewarded when positive health is reflected in their families. And on and on that goes.
    The other factor which is capable of causing a change in behavior is fear. Fear of dying has almost always created a behavior modification, but this change is frequently short lived.
    Emphasizing prevention sounds wonderful. Achieving success in that arena will continue to be a major challenge. Considering the multicultural/multiethnic nature of our society (and the ever increasing number of foreign nationals in the U.S.), success in the area of prevention will require a basic alteration in the structure and cultural beliefs of many of our present and future citizens and of our illegal immigrants. In essence, prevention is an essential aspect of health care, but those of us in public health know that it is our most difficult challenge.

    Much of the Plan relates to coordination, choice of plans, finances etc. The complexity of all that is far beyond my expertise. The aspect of choice is terrific and would appeal to almost everyone. We really need to get the AMA behind this.

    One major component of the Plan, fairness for all, is not adhered to in this Plan. On page 10, “Reduce Government Handouts to Wealthier Americans” stands out as a direct conflict with fairness. I believe all American citizens, whether rich or poor, should be entitled to the same level of care. In the same way, I believe all American citizens should pay the same amount for that care, if it is under the same plan. If everyone is receiving a refund or credit, that means everyone. Unless the definition of Fair has altered, the cost of Medicare should be the cost of Medicare for everyone. Should wealthier Americans pay more for a cup of coffee simply because they have more funds? The principle of fairness is negated by that proposal.

    I’m sure you would have liked me to jump on this bandwagon and support this Plan 100%. Since almost anything we enact, other than Pres. Obama’s proposed Plan, has the potential to be better than what exists now, this Plan would be a step forward. But it still needs a lot of hard work and specifics.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment. See you at the upcoming the PAC meeting on Thursday. Enjoy this Sunny day!

  • Bob Stanton

    I heard Dr. Coburn speak in a public forum in Tulsa recently. He is a very sincere medical doctor with a desire to improve medical care in the U.S.
    The Patients Choice Act encourages everyone taking positive health actions, and it increases health insurance portability. It also increases choice of medical insurance policies or savings plans available to each person. It is the right direction to go.