TARP-like Bailout Comes to Oklahoma!
It looks as if the Oklahoma legislature has provided the dowry to the Oklahoma State University osteopathic hospital that Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City was looking for. The state budget provides for $18.5 million to bail out this hospital, interestingly, $250,000 more than they said they needed. Mercy, Oklahoma City was looking at an arrangement to “partner” with the Tulsa...
Good News in a Bad News Industry
I have come to the conclusion that the main reason my medical free market and transparent pricing message has been so widely and warmly embraced is very simply that it is good news. I have been viewed as a good news guy in a bad news industry. That “here is what we do and here is how much it will cost,” has been received as such good news is an indication of how truly cartelized the...
A Swing and a Miss
If this is the best the statists can do we are in good shape. Dr. Peter Ubel, no Rothbardian, asserts that price transparency could actually increase the price of healthcare (Lasik?) and that while cardiologists and other super specialists make too much money, primary doctors don’t make enough. Dr. Peter Ubel, like all central planners, suffers from the fatal conceit Hayek brilliantly...
Medicare's "False Flag" Price Revelation
The release by CMS (Medicare) of hospital charges and Medicare payments this week deserves a response, partly because the figures are wrong. While most of the newspaper reports focused on the gigantic differences between what hospitals charged and what they were paid, the real story is the irrational and nonsensical pricing of the CMS central planners. Also notable is that while this story...
Canadians Finally Figuring Healthcare Out
Dr. Jeffrey Singer wrote this piece for Reason Magazine this week. His article explains why the number of Canadians fleeing to the United States for surgery may have peaked and might indeed be falling. As the Canadian system continues its death spiral, private health clinics and mini-hospitals operating on a cash basis are springing up all over the country, this new trend due to the heroic...
Hospital Bailout and Medicaid Expansion Economics...
The April 27th edition of the Daily Oklahoman contains an article by Silas Allen about the impending closure of Oklahoma State University’s osteopathic hospital in Tulsa. Hospital officials think they can stay open though if a bunch of taxpayers that never utilize their facility pony up $18.25 million bucks to bail them out. This isn’t their first bailout it turns out. In 2009, a...
Wishy Washy Obamacare Buddies
The poor and the sick folks who currently make too much money to qualify for Medicaid in Oklahoma have pooled their meager resources to lobby hard for Medicaid expansion, buying expensive media ads under the name, “Oklahomans for a Healthy Economy.” O.K. Enough sarcasm. These ads are funded by those who would benefit from more taxpayer Medicaid loot—the big hospitals. If the...
My interview with CNBC-Asia
Here is a link to my CNBC Asia interview with Bernard Lo recently. He was very well-informed, had done his homework about our facility and was a gracious host. G. Keith Smith, M.D.
The Healthcare Price Wars Have Begun
Here is a link to my portion of the interview with John Stossel for those of you that are interested. This interview led to my interview tonight with CNBC Asia-Pacific with host Bernard Lo. I’ll post that link as soon as I have access to it. These two shows have reached huge audiences and the response has been impressive, particularly the number of people that are requesting price quotes....
The Real Victims of the Free Market
Let’s say that i have advertised the price of an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (all-inclusive) at $6990. Let’s say that the implants (screws, fixation devices, etc) are included in that price (I don’t mark up implant costs). Let’s say that 1 of the 10 surgeons at my facility that does this operation insists on using an extremely expensive implant, one coming...
Crony Hospitals are the Winners!
As Murray Rothbard asked, “cui bono,” or “who benefits.” Here is the answer to his question when it comes to Obamacare, plain and simple. Just as the corporate hospital stocks soared after Justice Robert’s ruling, they soared with the announcement that pay cuts became pay raises and the elimination of the uncompensated care payments became a maintenance of this scam...
Hunger Games, HMO-style
One of my partners, an ear nose and throat surgeon resigned years ago from a particularly abusive HMO. He said, “never again,” as did all of the reputable ear nose and throat surgeons in the area, physicians whose practices were already solid and busy without having to deal with this outfit. Even though many of the HMO’s are long dead and gone from Oklahoma, this particular HMO...
Stossel Show to Re-Air on Fox News Channel
The John Stossel Show on free market healthcare during which I was interviewed will re-air this Sunday at 9 pm CST. The significance of this re-airing is that the show will be shown on the Fox News Channel, rather than Fox Business, to which fewer viewers have access. Here is the promotional link from Mr. Stossel’s webpage about the show. G. Keith Smith, M.D.
New Jim Epstein Video Flogs Medicaid Expansion
5 months ago I posted this blog about Dr.’s John and Alieta Eck. Toward the end of the post, there is a link to a video of Alieta’s congressional testimony at the end of which Dr. Rand Paul delivers a scathing rebuke to those on the panel who had spoken of a “right” to health care and what that really means. The Dr.’s Eck are featured now in another video...
Obamacare's True Beneficiaries Identified by...
In Frederic Bastiat’s “Economic Sophisms,” he begins by quoting the English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham: “In political economy there is much to learn and little to do.” Bastiat thought this so important that he begins his powerful book with this quote, one which at once acknowledges the natural power and tendency of free markets to benefit everyone, while...
Quid Pro Quo...Oh, Nevermind
Thanks to Brandon Dutcher for passing this along, an article that contains an admission by the “president” that his own health care bill is a failure. That’s right. He has rescinded the cuts in the “uncompensated care” payments to the hospitals because….ready?….because the Unaffordable Care Act will do nothing to lessen the amount of uncompensated care!...
My Interview With John Stossel
This past Thursday, I travelled to New York City for the taping of an episode of the “John Stossel Show.” For now, I just want anyone interested to know that it will air this Thursday, 4/25, at 8pm CST on Fox Business. The theme of the show is free market healthcare, containing four segments, one of which was his interview with me. I plan to post a link to the show on this site as...
Obamacare's Primary Promises Kept
The Daily Oklahoman, our local newspaper, while initially in opposition to Governor Mary Fallin’s rejection of the health exchanges of the Unaffordable Care Act, is now happily printing supportive editorials of her decision. April 16th’s editorial title, “With Obamacare, Nearly Every Promise Going Unmet,” is perhaps more true than the author(s) has any idea. Here are some of the unmet promises...
The Real Story on Self-Dealing in Healthcare
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs passes on this quote from the late, great Joseph Sobran: “What puzzles me is why journalism should be so reflexively on the side of government. During the Watergate era, we heard about the ‘watchdog press,’ the ‘adversary press,’ the press as the ‘fourth branch of government.’ That old skepticism about government, largely illusory then, hardly survives...
A Recent Radio Interview
Here is my most recent interview with Terry Lowry, always a fun interviewer. Here is part two of that interview. G. Keith Smith, M.D.
New Website, John Stossel and Predictions
Here are some very exciting things that are happening at our facility that I wanted to pass along. We will launch our new website very soon, one which will allow us to show the prices for even more procedures, and one which I can easily edit and expand. As competitors enter the marketplace, I want to be able to change pricing quickly or to add new procedures. We are very close to this...
The Truth About Physician-Owned Facilities
One of the reasons that our prices are so low (a sixth to a tenth of what the so-called “not for profit” hospitals charge) is that our facility is completely owned and controlled by the physicians working here. This ownership arrangement allows us to limit the facility charge (traditionally that portion of the surgical/hospital charge that makes up the majority of the total bill) to...
10 Health Care Myths, and the Truth
1). It is expensive to provide health care. It actually is not that expensive. What most hospitals charge for healthcare is another matter altogether. Even the supply costs are not that expensive and as a health care facility owner/manager I can speak from experience. Understand that medical facilities are not economically unlike utility companies that incur high fixed costs at startup, but...
An Unaffordable Care Act, It Is, Indeed!
Looks like maybe my label for Obamacare (The Unaffordable Care Act) will stick. Here’s an article from the WSJ worth checking out. As P.J. O’Rourke famously said, “If you think health care’s expensive now, wait until it’s free!” G. Keith Smith, M.D.
A Tough Balancing Act
I think it is hard to know what is true these days. One thing is definitely true for me though. I think that most people, myself included, can only take so much truth in one sitting. In my experience, freedom-minded thinkers tend to be independent thinkers and most of the time are open-minded, with a willingness to self-examine and change prior beliefs and thoughts that don’t pass the...
Uncle Sam Says, "Buy Insurance From Our Pals or...
Check out this article by Reason Magazine’s editor in chief, Nick Gillespie (many thanks to Brandon Dutcher of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs for bringing this article to my attention). It turns out that the uninsured folks the Unaffordable Care Act was meant to help, don’t want this help after all. That’s kind of hard to comprehend, isn’t it? Let’s take a...
A Glimpse at the Death Panels
I once wrote about how happy one of my mother’s friends should have been when Medicare decided to no longer pay for her B-12 shots, as the private sector would figure out a way to make sure there were no shortages of B-12 injections. Ever. Central planners, on the other hand, those in medicine in particular, who assign pricing to products and services always get it wrong. This is the fatal...
What You See vs. What You Hear
My father recently asked me if any of the hospital administrators whose billing practices have bankrupted countless patients ever had face to face contact with those whose lives had been ruined by their greed. Or, he asked, were they like drone operators, destroying people’s lives in a remote, impersonal way safe in their office? Look around. Hospitals building everywhere. Sponsoring...
Obamacare's Real Purpose Now More Obvious
Imagine that you own a company with 100 employees. Your company has provided traditional health insurance to your employees at a cost of $45,000/month until about 3 years ago when you discovered that you could “self-insure.” You made this move because for many years in a row, the dollar amount of the health claims submitted by your employees didn’t amount to the dollar amount of your insurance...
A Useful Distraction for Uncle Sam
The Office of the Inspector General has decided that physician owned distributorships are unethical and probably illegal. Physician owned distributorships are companies that doctors set up to procure surgical implants from the manufacturers, implants that are then sold to the hospital once marked up by this intermediary. I am no fan of this arrangement, as in most every case, the intermediary...
Surgery Center of Oklahoma Makes the Forbes List
Dave Chase, writing for Forbes Magazine, has this to say about the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. After visiting with Mr. Chase for over an hour a few days ago, I expect to see more articles like this from him and others about free market driven healthcare and pricing transparency. G. Keith Smith, M.D.
Shaffer quotes from "Boundaries of Order"
A quote from Butler Shaffer’s “Boundaries of Order:” “Political institutions thrive by encouraging the development of various group identities. Insisting upon maintaining the clear distinctions of our collective boundary lines, they help to foment conflicts among such groups and then offer to mediate the very differences it has been in the state’s interests to...
Dr. Paul Hsieh Sledgehammers Obamacare
Check out this article by Dr. Paul Hsieh. This is a glimpse into what happens when as a society, we allow the “state” to declare that health care is a right. A Soviet-style brand of compassion awaits us all with the dream of Obamacare’s full implementation just months away. Well done, Paul. G. Keith Smith, M.D.
Fareed Zakaria: Accurately Cited
Fareed Zakaria, noted editor of TIME magazine and known plagiarist recently tweeted this: “A pure free market model simply cannot work in providing health care unless we’re willing to let people who can’t pay die.” My first inclination is to ask him who should be given credit for having said this first. Let’s break his (maybe it’s his) statement down. First, he assumes that without...
Americans for Prosperity on the Provider Tax and...
Here’s an embarrassing video on the provider tax scam and why expanding Medicaid is supported by the corporate medical machine and many state governments from Americans for Prosperity. G. Keith Smith, M.D.
"Uncle Sam Wants Your Doctor"
Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler weren’t exactly friends, but ideologically they were on the same page about many issues, the right to health care and the right to due process, amongst them. They were proponents of the former and obviously, not so much the latter. Sound familiar? What they were actually in favor of was control of the healthcare their citizens received. Hitler and his National...
A Big Hospital Joins Our Efforts!
I spoke to a group of legislators this morning about the price transparency phenonomen here in Oklahoma City at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. Brandon Dutcher served as master of ceremonies, beginning the affair with a short introduction then showing the Reason Magazine video about our facility. A 45 minute question and answer session then ensued. A point I’ve heard many times...
Reason's Jim Epstein Does It Again!
Jim Epstein, writer and producer of the Reason Magazine video mini-documentary featuring our facility, has written a new blockbuster piece you can read here. He once again uses our facility as an example of free-market healthcare delivery. There are many links to important information in the article. One is to our new friends at “SnapHealth,” run by the emergency room physician and...
Obamacare: Minimum Coverage, Maximum Cost →
There’s mounting evidence that come fall, the health plans sold through the Obamacare exchanges will be bare bones affairs - with narrow networks of providers to select from, and heavy co-insurance once patients go “out of network.” In many ways these plans will be a throwback to insurance schemes of the late 1990s, when managed care was dominant and restrictive networks standard fare. With...
The Question Patients Never Ask
I have found that after I have spoken to a group about our free market surgery center, the same question pops up. Every time. Someone will always ask how our model applies to the poor and indigent and how many of those folks do we take care of, after all? I’ve answered this in various ways. Before I deal with it here, it might be useful to delve into the assumptions that the...
Duke Medical Students Embrace Medical Free Market...
Here is my talk earlier today with Alex Chamessian, president of the Duke School of Medicine’s chapter of the Benjamin Rush Society. The video is about an hour long, beginning with the Reason.tv video of our facility, the end of which was a little jumpy. I talk about our facility then answer questions from Alex and some of his classmates. G. Keith Smith, M.D.
The truth is that the common man’s love of liberty, like his love of sense,...– H.L. Mencken (via laliberty)