Direct Primary Care Bill Vetoed by Virginia Governor
The bill passed unanimously in the House, but the governor vetoed the bill stating more information is needed about direct primary care.
Direct primary care is subscription-like healthcare. Patients pay a flat fee and are able to visit the physician’s office as many times as needed.
For direct primary care, claims are not sent to insurance providers and payments are made between patients and physicians.
According to Direct Primary Care, patients can rely on unhurried visits where patients and physicians can discuss lifestyle choices and treatment options. This type of care also allows patients to have the final say in their healthcare, as well as transparent pricing, access, and availability of services.
Another feature of this type of healthcare is that it eliminates fee-for-service incentives, since the patient pays a flat fee and has unlimited access.
However, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bipartisan healthcare bill that would exempt direct primary care providers from the rules and regulations of health insurers.
The bill recognized that direct primary care is not a contract of insurance, but rather an agreement between the healthcare provider and the patient. The bill also prohibits direct primary care providers from submitting a claim to insurers for services provided unless it is outside of the agreement.
Virginia physician Maura McLaughlin, MD, offers direct primary care to patients at her practice for $60 per month, according to an NBC News report. She said in the report that she does suggest her patients get health insurance in case of an emergency, but cautions that it increases the cost for checkups.
“We would never buy car insurance to cover our gas because it would cost, you know, $20 dollars a gallon instead of $2 a gallon,” Dr McLaughlin said to NBC 29.
The bill unanimously passed the House 97 to 0 in February.
However, the Virginia Governor said in a press release that he vetoed the bill on the grounds that the concept of direct primary care needs to be studied further to consider possible challenges, issues, and advantages to this type of care before the bill can be passed.