Is there another option to the so-called Affordable Care Act, which is in the process of allowing the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington to commandeer our entire health care system?
Is it possible we have another choice, that we don’t have to opt for the federal government to nationalize one-fifth of the economy?
The overwhelming public opposition to ObamaCare is a pretty clear indication that most Americans realize, at a very fundamental level, that government-managed-and-controlled healthcare is not the answer to our spiraling, out-of-control medical costs.
But if ObamaCare is not the answer to our current healthcare crisis, what is?
Earlier this year, I journeyed to Oklahoma City to see for myself what many people are saying is the future of healthcare — the free market’s answer to ObamaCare. I interviewed two very impassioned and inspired physicians, Drs. Keith Smith and Steven Lantier, co-founders of an exciting model of healthcare delivery.
Their creation, the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, is a state-of-the-art, 32,000 square foot facility, with more than fifty top-rated surgeons performing all types of sophisticated surgeries.
There are many remarkable things about this facility, but in this era of skyrocketing health costs, perhaps the most notable concerns the bottom line: the Surgery Center of Oklahoma is performing surgeries for a fraction of the cost that patients pay for the same surgery at hospitals across the street, across town or across the country.
It is not unusual for the cost of an operation at the Surgery Center of Oklahoma to be only one-fourth, one-fifth, or even one-tenth of the prices charged elsewhere.
But what about the quality?
The Surgery Center of Oklahoma, or SCO, receives high satisfaction ratings from patients. And here is another very important point: Nosocomial infections. You’ve probably heard about this very serious crisis of infections acquired in hospitals or other healthcare facilities.
This has become a major concern, with some studies indicating nearly one in every 25 hospital patients nationwide falling victim to hospital-borne infections, many of which are resistant to antibiotics. That’s an infection rate at hospitals nationwide of 3-4 percent — or higher. But at Surgery Center of Oklahoma the infection rate is virtually zero.
One of the “revolutionary” ideas initiated by Drs. Smith and Lantier involves posting the prices for all of the SCO’s surgical operations on their website. As Dr. Smith points out, this should not be considered so revolutionary, because it is what we expect in every other industry.
When one goes shopping for a car, a home, a lawnmower, a laptop computer, cell phone service, life insurance, or any other product or service, it is relatively easy to find prices from various vendors and providers online.
“It should be just as simple to find out the price for an operation or a hospital stay,” says Dr. Smith. At SCO, he notes, the aim is to make prices “transparent and honest.” The current government-corporate collusion is the opposite of the free market, he says, and is a “scam” that keeps healthcare prices soaring. “So, when we put our prices online, part of our thinking was to expose this scam. And as big fans of the free market, we want people to really know and understand that the failure of the American healthcare system is no failure of the free market — it’s an absence of the free market primarily.”
Dr. Smith continues:
What we’re doing here should not be that remarkable. What we’re doing is what every other industry in the United States does that operates fairly. We say, “Here’s what we do and here’s how much it is.” We identify our costs, build in a marginal profit, and then display those prices.
That’s how every other industry works, and it promotes healthy competition and keeps quality high and prices low, and that’s basically how we operate here.
It is the high quality and low prices that are making SCO the destination for patients from all 50 states of the United States and many foreign countries. They are finding it costs less out-of-pocket for surgery at SCO than what they would end up paying elsewhere, once their deductible and co-pay are figured in.
Many companies that have switched to self-funded healthcare are also finding it makes sense to send their employees to SCO for surgery.
The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is proving that a genuine free market is the answer to our healthcare crisis, not ObamaCare’s Big Government model. For 17 years, SCO has been not only delivering top-notch care for a fraction of the cost, but also creating jobs, paying taxes — and still making a profit. We urge you to find out more about this encouraging development in healthcare by viewing our video tour of SCO and our interviews with Dr. Smith and by reading our more comprehensive article "Healthcare's Free Market Alternative."