Giving, not receiving, is what Liberty HealthShare is about.
by John Hunt, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Liberty HealthShare is creating a system in which voluntarily sharing your resources with others is not limited to your immediate geographic surroundings. Our community is aided by the internet, so you can help others in need anywhere deal with the misfortune of having an illness or injury at a time in history when health care costs are so hyperinflated that the costs are often as destructive as the diseases themselves. In addition to helping ill members with such financial struggles, you can now be part of a process of fixing the problems that caused health care prices to become so ridiculously high.
Many of us joined Liberty HealthShare in part because we recognize that bureaucratically-designed products are the problem, not the solution. Third-party payers take away the motivation of a patient to seek the right balance of high quality and appropriately priced medical care. Ultimately, the patient often stops caring about the cost. After all, it’s just a faceless company - or the government - paying. It turns out that this mentality is potently destructive to any effort to efficiently provide health care services.
Politicians misdiagnosed the problem with our health care system in the U.S. as too little bureaucratic involvement when indeed the diagnosis is too much bureaucratic involvement. Politicians now force us all to ingest more of the very same toxin that made us all sick in the first place. This is more than negligent malpractice: it is an outright assault.
As an intelligent, moral, thoughtful person, what can you do? What can we do? Here are my initial suggestions:
First, recognize that politicians are lousy physicians. Stop ingesting the solutions they are feeding you.
Second, recognize that health insurance and health care are entirely separate, and in most cases, opposite things.
Third, recognize that many people are suffering due to the excessive medical costs caused by politicians’ poisonous prescription. Optimally, you joined Liberty HealthShare in great part because you recognize that innocent people - through no fault of their own - need financial help because of what politicians have wrought.
Fourth, please be part of the solution. Conscientious consideration of cost vs. quality is relevant for your decisions about food, shelter, and transportation. This consideration is every bit as important for your decisions about health and medical care. If you find yourself in a position where you need financial assistance from other Liberty HealthShare members - when you need to be shared with, instead of sharing with others - you will take on a moral obligation to steward the resources of the other members who will willingly, voluntarily, and eagerly help you through the tough times. Stewarding in this context means looking after, caring for, and being responsible for.
Fifth, know that price is one of the most important pieces of information to have in a functional and free economy. Price matters. This is common sense. Failing to respect the importance of price has led to hyperinflation in the cost of medical care. Each member can help himself (or herself) and the entire membership by seeking out health professionals and hospitals that transparently and visibly post the prices for the services they offer. The professionals who won’t or can’t tell you their prices are themselves poisoned by politicians. Seek out instead the healthy health professionals, or encourage your current doctor to become healthy by providing honest, honorable, transparent prices. How else can you possibly make wise, conscientious decisions that respect your wallet and the resources of your fellow members?
Sixth, use the price information you find. You will quickly discover that prices for the same medical service can differ by 10 fold or more! One service might cost $100 in one place and $1500 in another. This horrendous price discrepancy has resulted from a lack of respect for the free market. Encourage others to learn respect. Shop smart. Pick the best prices. Don’t reward those who have gotten away with immorally hyperinflating their prices while relying on the third-party payer system to fill their troughs with our money. Negotiate for better prices when you can, or turn to Liberty HealthShare’s abundant expertise at negotiating down the inflated prices. By doing so, you enable us to build the pockets of medical and health care professionals who will help not just you and the rest of our membership, but perhaps Americans everywhere. Know that Liberty HealthShare has and continues to develop new services that will help you accomplish your own wise shopping.
Seventh, remember what healthcare sharing is all about. It is about sharing with and helping each other in a time when the medical world is a mess. It is about giving, not about taking. A wonderful potential benefit of giving is that others like to give back, if and when you need it. Liberty HealthShare is entirely voluntary - no force, no compulsion. It is absolutely and entirely NOT insurance. As a member of Liberty HealthShare, you benefit from knowing you are in a community of individuals who care about the health and the financial resources of other members. Each of us has a stewardship role to play.
I ask you to care about your money, care about medical prices, and care about the resources of the members who share with us. By caring for and respecting yourself and the other members, by encouraging your doctor to participate in honorable pricing, and by actively making decisions based on price balanced with quality, you can help fix the dysfunction of the medical system.
Next month, I will provide information about numerous ways you can save money on prescription medications. Because our membership doesn’t share in expenses for prescription drugs used for chronic issues, the dollars you spend on such medications are mostly your own. Therefore, this next article will provide a great example of how you might strive to conscientiously consider every medical and health cost, whether such cost is shared amongst others, or borne entirely by you. --JH