Some really thought provoking questions arose this week from the “Health care providers consultation” meeting with Government.

1. If Government has chosen a single-payer financing scheme isn’t this a government endorsed monopoly and shouldn’t the Medical community, Insurers and we as patients’ rights override the mandate of a monopoly? How does a monopoly differ from Nationalisation?
2. What would happen if all the dentists and doctors and allied health workers “opted out” of the proposed health care system.

Monopoly:
The definition of a monopoly describes a situation where a single entity is the sole producer, provider or seller of a product or service in an entire market. It is characterised by a lack of competition.

Nationalisation: a rather invasive option, Nationalisation allows a government to directly control the firm’s behaviour and thus minimise its negative effects on society. However, since this kind of policy is diametrically opposed to the idea of a free enterprise economy it has become extremely rare in practice.

Monopolies and Nationalisation are characterised by a lack of competition, which inevitably results in lower production outputs and/or higher prices.
What have doctors experienced in other countries with a nationalised system? Less time seen with the patient, longer wait times for surgeries etc. What does a “higher price”mean? This could mean that your $544 BHP2020 ‘mock plan’ price either becomes a lot higher OR your level of benefits becomes a lot lower- we just do not know.

Is there a “consumer protection law” in Bermuda? Absolutely. You can find it on www.gov.bm One of the first three points is “encourage fair competition between businesses”. In addition, in the Consumer Protection Act 1999 the third point states:

Unconscionable acts can be just as damaging and include excessively one-sided contracts that benefit only the trader: grossly overpriced products and….”, “entering into a contract with a consumer who you know lacks the capacity to understand it”.

So does this mean patients have the right to OPT OUT of the health care scheme? According to the government website….NO.

How does the Consumer Protection Act protect you? It is an interesting question. It is a question that led the medical community to ask questions as well. Can doctors and dentists and allied health OPT OUT when patients cannot?

Opting Out:

Bermuda Health Council Advisor Ricky Braithwaithe advised the Dentist and Insurers present at a “consultation” meeting this week that they can put forward recommendations to “OPT OUT” of the Proposed Health Scheme “if they didn’t like it”. Interesting, Patients cannot opt out, but it sounds like doctors can? How does such a system make our patients healthier?

The BMDA, Dentists and Pharmacy Owners Association are against the SINGLE PAYER GOVERNMENT ENDORSED MONOPOLY. Save the date Friday Feb 7 12:30 – 2:30pm Patients1st is helping you have a voice.