(By Karl Denninger) Here's the bill that either Obama or Romney could propose and demand be passed.
(For that matter so could Gary Johnson, and if he had a lick of sense, he would as this would be a "break the glass" moment for the Libertarians, but I digress...)
THE BIPARTISAN LEGALIZATION OF WORLDWIDE MEDICAL ENHANCEMENT and PATIENT HEALTH AUGMENTATION REMEDIAL MARKET ACT
An Act to redress the imbalances in the economy related to health care products and services, enforce the law, improve patient outcomes, enhance access to treatment modalities, decrease costs and open competition in the Medical Industry.
Article I - Competition
- The Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman Acts shall apply to medical commodities, services and related products without exception, including but not limited to pharmaceuticals, hospital services, clinical services, medical devices, implements, drugs and supplies, financial services such as payment plans and health insurance or any other service or good used or provided for the purpose of promoting health, treating or diagnosing disease, provided that said goods, products or services are marketed, sold, advertised or used anywhere inside the United States and its territories.
- Medical providers shall post via conspicuous method and bill at a level price for their services to all users of like kind and quantity without regard to the means of payment, subject only to reasonably-defensible discounts for volume of service or product rendered or sold.
- All State CON laws and other regulations that serve to prevent, deter, bar or impair medical good or service providers from entrance or exit to or from a market area, where said facilities do or may serve customers on an interstate basis, are hereby preempted and void under the Interstate Commerce Clause to the US Constitution.
- The doctrine of first sale shall be applied to all medical and health-related commodities, pharmaceuticals, supplies and goods, including but not limited to drugs, medical devices, implements and health-related products, provided that such goods are truthfully and lawfully labeled as to their origin, manufacturer and contents, irrespective of their point of original purchase.
- No manufacturer, distributor or other seller of medical goods or commodities may prohibit by contract or other provision the effects of Article I Section 4, and any such clause in existing contracts for sale are hereby declared void as a violation of public policy.
- Medical goods and commodities permitted or lawfully offered for sale in nations and territories other than the United States may be imported, marketed and sold for consumption and use in the United States irrespective of FDA approval provided that any drug, device, implement or commodity not approved by the FDA shall be conspicuously labeled that it does not have FDA approval in no less than 14 point white print on a black background on all bulk and, where applicable, individual use or dispensed packages. All such unapproved drugs, devices, implements and commodities shall bear or have enclosed with their packaging truthful information as to their exact contents, purity, method of action, expected benefits and known risks and side effects of its use. All such unapproved drugs, devices, implements and commodities shall be explicitly disclosed to the consumer before use or administration by any licensed medical facility or physician and an explicit release shall be obtained from said consumer in advance of the use of such unapproved drugs, drives, implements or commodities.
Article II -- Access To Medical Care And Records
- EMTALA is hereby repealed.
- Privately-run and operated medical clearing firms are hereby authorized who citizens and visitors to the United States may register with to document verifiable means of coverage or payment for potential medical services and products. These firms shall be regulated only as to privacy of information maintained.
- Such registration shall include not only insurance coverage by traditional health insurance firms but also registration of escrowed funds or other unencumbered and liquid assets available for disbursement in the event of unplanned and emergency medical expense.
- Medical providers may query any such registry only for a bona-fide purpose of determining whether a proposed procedure is covered for payment, and shall not issue more than one query per patient, per medical incident without that patient or their agent's explicit approval.
- Registries shall not provide information on coverage or escrowed and liquid limits beyond a response indicating whether the explicit and queried amount proposed to be billed is or is not covered.
- Patients shall own all records in any such registry, including the record of all inquiries and shall have a right of inspection of any such records during reasonable business hours and by reasonable means.
- Medical records shall be the property of the consumer to whom they pertain, and shall be provided to and may be maintained by the consumer upon his or her reasonable request. No provider shall provide access to or permit the copying of any such record to any third party without the explicit authorization of the consumer or his or her lawful representative, except where applicable statute mandates the disclosure of said records such as in the case of communicable disease or mandatory reporting statutes.
- A registry or medical provider that violates any provision of this section shall be liable for all damages that a consumer shall suffer, but not less than $25,000 (twenty-five thousand dollars US) per incident in liquidated damages if the actual amount of damages shall be less.
- EMS providers and systems shall maintain a registry of charitable hospitals and other providers of medical care willing to provide services to those who have no verifiable or actual means of payment so as to be able to expeditiously make decisions on transport of indigent patients, and shall update their listing of such available care facilities not less than once daily.
Article III - Enforcement
- Consumers, employers or other parties harmed by violations of this act shall have a private right of recovery for all harm sustained in triplicate, but not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each occurrence.
- Each day that any such violation occurs shall constitute a separate and distinct civil offense.
- Willful and intentional violations of consumer privacy, or any act of conspiracy between parties to violate any provision of this act shall be Federal Felony Criminal Offense and punished by not less than 2 nor more than 20 years of confinement and a fine of not less than $10,000 or more than $100,000 for each count, except that if permanent physical injury shall occur to any person as a consequence of said violation the penalty shall be not less than 10 nor more than 25 years of confinement and a fine of not less than $50,000 nor more than $250,000 for each count, and if death to any person shall occur as a consequence of said violation the penalty shall be not less than 25 years to life of confinement and not less than $100,000 nor more than $2,000,000 for each count.
That would pretty much do it, I suspect (that is, cut the cost of medical care by about 80% -- if not more.)