Oddly, I was actually uplifted by a recent pilgrimage I made to our nation’s capital. I went there to advocate for improving the lives of independent physicians – to do that by reducing regulations and unfair competition. I wanted to test the anti-regulatory mood of our current administrative and legislative branches. And I found an audience understanding and sympathetic to the plight of private physicians. Expecting divisiveness, I found instead respect for the innovations and quality improvement coming from physician-lead groups. Expect in the future a better, fairer environment in which to practice.
Relief will come, not from the strategies of repeal-and-replace, but from reduced administrative complexity demanded at the agency level. Tom Price, an orthopedist who is now Secretary of HHS, tired of burdensome regulations when in private practice for twenty years. Seema Verma, the new CMS Administrator, was selected because of her interest in freeing up physicians to focus of patient care. Yes, there’s hope.