In this episode of Healthcare Americana, Christopher Habig welcomes Dean Clancy, Senior Health Policy Fellow with Americans for Prosperity, for an insightful discussion on healthcare reform and empowering patients in the United States. They delve into the misconceptions surrounding the American healthcare system, the need for reform, and various policy proposals aimed at making healthcare more accessible and affordable.

Dean Clancy shares his vision for the future of healthcare and outlines key initiatives to achieve patient empowerment and choice.

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[0:00:38] Christopher Habig: Welcome to Healthcare Americana coming to you from the FreedomDoc Studios. I am your host, Christopher Habig, CEO, and co-founder of Freedom Healthworks. This is a podcast for the 99% of people who get care in America. We talk to innovative clinicians, policymakers, patients, caregivers, executives, and advocates who are fed up with the status quo and have a desire to change it. We take you behind the scenes with people across America that are putting patients first and restoring trust in American healthcare.


Today’s episode is going to be dealing with the policy side, mainly on what’s happening at the federal level with our benevolent federal government, who has all of our best interests in mind. And there’s actually a lot of hope, especially from my side, what we’re able to see within Freedom Healthworks through our primary care world. There’s a lot of interest in making positive change, and I’m saying this from both sides of the aisle. It’s not just a red versus blue type of an argument.


One of the organizations, I will say, and said company. But one of the organizations, more of a think tank, more of a policy expert, that is really leading the charge and advocating for the American Health Care consumer, the patient, and the people, and the doctors, and everybody who’s actually involved in it, has been Americans for Prosperity. So, please welcome to Healthcare Americana, Dean Clancy, is Senior Health Policy Fellow with Americans for Prosperity. Dean, thanks so much for joining us here on Healthcare Americana.


[0:02:10] Dean Clancy: It’s my pleasure.


[0:02:11] Christopher Habig: Now, from a federal level, whenever anybody says the words federal, and policy, and healthcare, most people just kind of bury their head in the sand and say, “It’s so broken. I’m not even sure that it’s worth bringing back from the brink.” Enter Americans for Prosperity relatively recently. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but AFP has historically been involved in matters of economic policy, and only recently got into the healthcare world. Give us a little bit of background on AFP, and why you decided to expand from really free trade advocates into getting into healthcare, that it is probably the furthest thing from a free market that we possibly have in America today?


[0:02:55] Dean Clancy: Well, you’re absolutely right. Americans for Prosperity traces its roots back to a group established, oh, I want to say around 2008, called Citizens for a Sound Economy. The focus there was to be the voice of taxpayers and individual citizens, on questions of taxes and regulation, and getting the economy growing.


Today, we’re called Americans for Prosperity. We’re much bigger, and we work on many more issues. We work on energy, taxes, trade, finance, regulation. We’re interested in AI. I mean, you name it. We’re kind of across the board. But healthcare has become very important to us, not just because of the whole fight over Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act. We were engaged in that fight. We were very much opposed to that, we thought misguided federal reform. And we’ve been proven right.


But instead of just sitting back and criticizing, we’ve said, “Look, let’s make the American healthcare system better.” And that has led us to mount a campaign. It’s an optimistic future oriented campaign we call the Personal Option. Our polling shows Americans don’t want a government takeover of healthcare. They want more choice and control, more options, more price transparency, less hassle. And our view is that much of what ails American healthcare today can be boiled down to too much meddling by health insurance companies, and too many misguided government rules and mandates.


So, the Personal Option is about removing those. Empowering consumers and removing barriers. And our polling shows Americans favor that kind of approach, two to one, over Medicare for All, or a single payer, government run healthcare system. So, we have folks all over the country, thousands of volunteers. We have paid staff in 38 state. We talk to lawmakers under the dome in the States and in Washington. We knock on doors. We talk to people. We do polling and focus groups. Our political arm does endorse candidates and make political contributions. We’re trying to get aligned policy champions into the halls of power so that we can remove these barriers. So yes, healthcare has become a big deal for AFP.


[0:05:27] Christopher Habig: I want to talk about this, I guess, misguided idea that the current US healthcare industry is a free market. So, people say, “It’s not functioning right. The free market has failed in healthcare.” When you hear something like that, how do you react? What do you say to that person?


[0:05:48] Dean Clancy: Well, it’s complete rubbish. We do not have a free market healthcare system today. We have not had for many decades. We don’t agree with an idea that was first put out there by an economist named Kenneth Arrow who said, “Well, markets don’t work in healthcare, because patients don’t have enough information, and so on.” The real-world experience of everyday people shows that’s not true, and we know it’s not true because healthcare works very well, in certain areas like cosmetic surgery, LASIK surgery, cash pay only facilities, and of course, direct primary care, which is the most exciting new development in the insurance free healthcare space. Basically, wherever you get the meddlers, the insurance companies and the bureaucrats out of the way, doctors and patients get together naturally, and markets work just fine.


[0:06:45] Christopher Habig: You’re talking about cosmetics and LASIKs, and even the DPC concierge world, and how there’s competition. I mean, if you look at the price of LASIK surgery back from when it came out 20 years ago, versus what it is today, it’s basically following the pricing curves of big screen televisions, and everything else in healthcare is going the absolute opposite way, outpacing standard of living, outpacing inflation, all the CPI. So yes, I would be right with you.


So, when somebody looks at this, and they really want to learn more and say, “Well, wait a minute, if you’re telling me that healthcare is not a free market, and you’re saying that all these other entities, and insurance, and hospitals are fixing the game against patients, and then the government is coming in to really provide more barriers, rather than the consumer protections”, then they say, “Well, we just need to get rid of insurance companies altogether, and have the government do some type of Medicare for All strategy.” What is the problem with that one? I’m picking on the challenges here, Dean. But when someone says Medicare for All, this is going to solve all of our problems. Again, how do you react? What do you tell that person? How do you educate them?


[0:07:55] Dean Clancy: Well, there’s a number of reasons to realize why that’s just not a good idea. In fact, we find in our polling that once you begin to explain those ideas, support for Medicare for All drops off quickly, when people think it through. It sounds nice, because people have nice, warm feelings about today’s Medicare program. Of course, most Americans are not actually on that program. They don’t actually experience, it’s an inferior insurance product. It only covers about half of your expectable medical expenses. It only pays doctors and hospitals about half of what a private commercial health insurer would pay for the same item or service.


So, seniors and disabled folks on Medicare have less access to care, and the quality of their care is lower, and they often end up shelling out a fortune for supplemental coverage to fill in the gaps of this poorly designed program. That’s not to say that we should get rid of Medicare, but it does suggest that we shouldn’t make it the program for everybody. Of course, if you did that, it would be akin to putting the post office, or the Department of Motor Vehicles in charge of your healthcare. It’s a bureaucracy. It’s a monopoly. They don’t have to please their customers. That’s why it’s inferior.


The Medicare for All Bill proposed by Congress, excuse me, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described socialist would cost $30 trillion, with a T, more than we’re currently spending on healthcare over 10 years, first 10 years. Because the idea is to make everything free. So, it wouldn’t even be Medicare. In fact, his bill would eliminate Medicare and replace it with this utopian version of Medicare, that we know from the real world, we know from Britain and Canada and other countries, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I wouldn’t want to get sick and be my age in Britain, because they’re going to ration my healthcare. We don’t have to do that. America doesn’t have to emulate those other countries.


So, Medicare for All, bad idea. Instead, let’s give folks a personal option.


[0:10:18] Christopher Habig: I like how you said, starting out there, and I talk about this all the time. I go, “Why is somebody so excited to turn 65 to go into Medicare, and now they get a government minimum program?” If you put it like that, like, nobody’s like, “Oh, yes, that sounds great. I’m all in.” What if everybody said, “Great. When he turned 16, the government’s going to hand you a used Nissan Altima.” No one’s going to want that. It’s dangerous. Nobody wants that, right? It’s almost like, going back to the old Soviets that you can choose any color you want to of a new car, as long as it’s black. I got that wrong. I’m mixing my metaphors there.


[0:10:56] Dean Clancy: It’s Henry Ford, but yes.


[0:10:58] Christopher Habig: Henry Ford. Yes. I think the Soviets were saying, “Yes, you can choose a car and just hope you’re still alive by the time it actually get actually shows up here.” Right?


[0:11:06] Dean Clancy: That’s right.


[0:11:08] Christopher Habig: I got to go back to my metaphor book here, Dean.


[0:11:10] Dean Clancy: Well, clearly, but it’s okay. It’s okay. By the way, the Medicaid program, the one for lower income folks, folks in nursing homes, it’s even worse than Medicare on quality and access. And when you think about what the Medicare for All folks are trying to do, they’re really trying to put everybody in a Medicaid like program. That program, basically, relies on private HMOs, restrictive health insurance plans, to ration care to people. That’s what Medicare for All would really be like. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. As I said, happily, we don’t have to do it.


[0:11:51] Christopher Habig: I like the nomenclature of a Medicaid for All type of approach, rather than Medicare for All to really drive that in, of this is the minimum. You’ll get the scarlet M1 in, then your options really, really decrease.


So, let’s talk about the positive. AFP, Americans for Prosperity, has been working on what we call the Personal Option. Give us that 30,000-foot view of really what this does, and why it appeals to consumers?


[0:12:18] Dean Clancy: Sure. The Personal Option is a vision, a philosophy, a campaign, and a strategy to make American healthcare what it could be, through the use of markets rather than mandates. It’s built on three basic pillars. The first is empower patients, not insurance companies. Give people, if you’re going to give them subsidies, and we do believe in government safety nets to make sure nobody falls through the cracks. But those should be well designed and narrow. Give people those subsidies so they decide how to spend the money. Give them choice and control. So, fund patients, not insurance companies.


The second pillar is HSAs for All. Let every American save and pay for healthcare tax free, in an account that they own and control, where they get to decide what to spend on, how much to spend, and let them save that money and build it up into a nest egg for future medical expenses. HSAs exists today, but they have severe limitations, we’d like to remove those. So, that’s the second pillar, HSAs for All.


And the third, is remove barriers between patients and the medical professionals they trust. That consists of all kinds of things. Probably the most important one is make sure people have access to direct patient care, as I call it, direct primary care or direct specialist care, direct care at options where there’s no insurance middleman. We know those work, we know patients, and doctors, and nurses, they love it. Because it’s just real health care on both sides. Your doctor gets to know you as a human being, the doctor doesn’t have to fill out insurance paperwork, you have more access, and you know all these things. Then there are many others. Removing state certificate of need laws that restrict access to, or the supply of hospitals and MRI machines. And going to site neutral payment in Medicare, which means that you don’t just basically subsidize local hospital monopolies by paying them more if the doctors happened to affiliate with the hospital, rather than being independent.


The list goes on. That’s all under the heading of remove barriers between patients and the medical professionals they trust. That’s it. That’s the Personal Option in a nutshell.


[0:14:52] Christopher Habig: It’s putting patients back in charge of their healthcare, and we’ve heard that before. I think that was one of the drives of why high deductible health plans became so popular and then they attached HSAs to them, which I’m the same way, of same thinking that you are, that are the biggest limitations is that most Americans go bankrupt if they try to meet their deductibles, yet an HSA is an incredible tax vehicle, triple tax saving on it. It’s just like, well, the right hand is not talking to the left here. We have this great account that people can save up for, put dollars into for the really bad, really, the worst year of their lives, as I heard somebody call it. But yet, they don’t have the savings to actually do that and avoid bankruptcy. I think that’s where people get their mind just so wrapped around, is like, this doesn’t make any sense.


You talked about quality, affordable insurance, access to your physician that actually gets to know you, not treating doctors and nurses like commodities, building relationships, kind of an old-school approach to medicine. You talked about price transparency, certainty, prescription drugs at lower prices. I mean, this sounds like you’re going after everybody. You’re going after government interference. You’re going after PBMs. You’re going after insurance companies. You’re going after hospital monopolies. Are you guys trying to boil the ocean? Is AFP trying to boil the ocean and try to grab everything all at once?


[0:16:19] Dean Clancy: Well, we are certainly trying to be comprehensive, because there are so many problems in healthcare. We do prioritize. We do look for our opportunities to make successes. For example, in South Carolina recently, we focused on repealing the certificate of need, a protectionist scheme that prevents new hospitals from being built or existing ones from being expanded, simply because the government board basically protects the incumbent hospitals. We got that fully repealed.


South Carolina is con free, as we like to say now. And AFP led the charge on that. We could have focused on other issues. But we decided to target. And at the federal level, we are focused on HSAs for All and we’re making good progress. The House of Representatives is very interested in legislating on that issue with a number of ideas that we have supported, including ideas that we’ve proposed.


So yes, we are trying to fix healthcare generally. But we do pick our spots. You mentioned all those people that were probably annoying, like the hospitals, the insurers, the PBMs. All that’s true. But we do ally with them on the occasional issue where our interests and principles are aligned.


The one group that I’d say, most of all, we tend to line up with is physicians. Physicians, we see the world from the point of view of the doctor-patient relationship. And physicians tend to be the victims of all that’s happened in American healthcare. So, we ally with them, and that’s a very powerful voice. They’re the most trusted voice in healthcare debates. Of course, we’re also advocating for patients, which is all of us, all Americans are patients sooner or later. So, that’s why we’re trying to get the word out to help enlist them in achieving the reforms we need.


[0:18:25] Christopher Habig: I love what you said, physicians are really the victims. They are the losers at this one. But yet, that’s who the finger gets pointed out. When you talk about any type of Medicare cuts, or is how to save money, or go after transparency. Everybody’s pointing them at physicians and providers saying, “They’re the problem over here.” When in reality, they get one of the smallest slice of that healthcare dollar out of anybody. But yet, so many physicians just sit back and keep their heads down. And they’re like, “You know what, this is just my world. I don’t know what else to do.”


And AFP is saying, “Look, we’re going to give physicians the voice. Let us know what you need, we want to work with you, make you heard”, because so many other things are piling on top of doctors to really push them in the coroner commoditize them and say, “Hey, you got a stethoscope and a white coat. You’re all the same. Nobody wants to actually hear from any individuals.”


It’s very scary to me, growing up in a small town, and understanding what impact a community physician can really have. So, I appreciate that side of it, that you are allying with the physician. Dean, we’re going to take a quick break here. We’re going to hear from our sponsor, FreedomDoc. Then, I want to come back and I want to get a better understanding of what the environment in the atmosphere is on Capitol Hill, and who you’re working with and the major players involved in Washington. So, here’s a quick message from our sponsor, FreedomDoc.




[0:19:49] Christopher Habig: Physician burnout is a killer. It is driving our best and brightest out of medicine. The only solution to burnout is to be your own boss. The easiest way to be your own boss is to join the FreedomDoc physician network. FreedomDoc is a unified brand. It will fully finance your practice so that you can enjoy a healthier lifestyle, take better care of patients, and spend more time with your family. You focus on patients, FreedomDoc focuses on your business. So, if you’re ready to be your own boss, visit our website, to learn more, and schedule a consultation with one of our experts. FreedomDoc accessible concierge health care.




[0:20:24] Christopher Habig: We are back with Dean Clancy, Senior Health Policy Fellow with Americans for Prosperity. Dean, before the break, we were talking a lot about these misconceptions that people have about the American healthcare system. Why one side of the aisle has really bad ideas, and the other side of the aisle seem to have no ideas right now. But that’s where Americans for Prosperity comes in, to pitch this Personal Option, as you call it, that really opens up the playing field for patients to take control of their healthcare in a very economical way and easy to navigate way. What type of environment are you experiencing in Washington, when you come forward, and you meet with legislators on both sides of the aisle? Is there appetite for looking at healthcare reform to empower patients?


[0:21:16] Dean Clancy: There is a growing appetite. Since 2017, when Republicans had control of Congress and failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or I should say the Unaffordable Care Act. After seven years of campaigning and winning elections on that promise, they have been gun-shy about health reform issues. They’ve learned the wrong lesson, in my opinion. What we found is, voters like it when Republicans and all candidates speak about healthcare. It’s a very high-ranking issue for voters. It’s top three in our polling after inflation and jobs. It’s almost always in the top five. The cost of health care is extremely concerning, and 40% of Americans think it’s a crisis. The last time, people said that was right before the Obamacare debate. And the last time before that was right before the Hillary care debate in the nineties.


So, I think conditions are conspiring to make a national health reform debate inevitable, and Republicans happily are starting to get back up on the horse. In the House of Representatives, they have passed a couple of great little bills that do move us towards a personal option approach in healthcare. I can give you the quick summary on those. One called the CHOICE Act. CHOICE is in all capital letters. That’s H.R. 3799, passed, I think it was in June. It does two great things. It creates choice plans, which basically allow your employer to put money in an account that you can then use to purchase your own private, portable health insurance. So now, with that help, you don’t risk losing your health insurance when you change jobs, and you have more control over what kind of coverage you get.


The second thing the bill does is expand on the idea of association health plans. So, businesses can band together, get group discount rates, and it includes the self-employed. Independent contractors, Uber drivers, people who basically work for themselves can band together and get good health insurance benefits. That’s the CHOICE Act that passed in June. Thanks to the Republicans.


Then there’s a transparency and site neutral payment bill. It’s pending right now, as we speak, in the fall of 2023. It’s called the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act. It would build on things the Trump administration did to make hospitals and insurers publish their prices. Healthcare is the only industry in America, really, where consumers don’t get to see the price of care upfront before they have to buy it.


So, the bill tries to break that down by requiring price publication. It also moves towards a site neutral payment and Medicare which is a wonky term, that means you won’t pay the hospital-based physician two or three times as much as the independent community-based physician for exactly the same item or service. It’s a stupid policy and it strengthens the grip of those local hospital monopolies. They’re incentivized to buy up the local doctor groups and bring them in house so they can charge higher reimbursements. It’s terrible.


That bill is also something good moves us in the right direction. There is a third bill in the offing that would expand and improve tax free health savings account. And we have been conversing with folks on the Hill about that legislation. We’re very excited. I don’t know exactly when it’s going to come up for a vote. It hasn’t been unveiled yet. But it includes some great ideas for making HSAs more available, and more useful, including, I will say this much. I know it’s going to make HSAs usable with direct primary care, which is really needed, and is very exciting.


[0:25:30] Christopher Habig: Who is coming at this, looking at this, and calling you up and saying, “Dean, this is a terrible idea. We’re not against this.” Who’s fighting you on this?


[0:25:38] Dean Clancy: Well, it’s funny. The folks on the left who tend to favor government, top-down sorts of healthcare solutions. I think right now they’re a little bit asleep at the switch. I don’t think they know what’s coming. I think what we’re doing at the moment is a little bit under their radar and that’s a good thing.


In general, however, we do get opposition from the progressives of the hardcore type. They think health savings accounts are just some kind of tax haven for the wealthy, which is simply not true. There’s no basis for that. It’s just an assertion they make. That CHOICE plans bill that I mentioned, I’ve never heard a Democrat or a progressive criticize it, nor Joe Biden. And yet, the evening before the vote, President Biden issued a threat saying, “If this gets to my desk, I will veto it.” And all the Democrats in the House then fell in behind him and voted no on it. Even though as I say, I have never heard any of them criticize the idea. It’s been around for years. In fact, the Trump administration actually implemented it through administrative means in 2019, and it’s never been challenged in court, and no one’s introduced a bill to get rid of it. It’s a great option that everybody should like. And yet, they all came out against it. I think, for political reasons.


Healthcare issues are polarized, unfortunately. So, what Biden said in his threat letter was, this takes away important protections for American patients and workers. Well, what protections? It just gives them another option, another way to get healthcare assistance from their employer. This is crazy, this polarization. I think that over time, you’ll find that the people will see through these kinds of arguments, and we’ll find common ground.


But in terms of special interests, obviously, the hospitals tend to oppose these changes. The insurance companies tend to oppose them. The PBMs and drug makers. And yet, as I said, on some issues, we find ourselves in alignment, like we oppose price controls. So, we’re on the same side as the drug makers on that issue. But we’re against them on some of the patent reform, FDA exclusivity issues, where the drug makers just want to promote and prolong their monopolies.


[0:28:06] Christopher Habig: I think there’s a wave of change happening, like you said, that it was interesting that some industry type got a hold of the President and said, “Hey, this can’t go through, because we’re probably going to stop donating to a campaign.” Like you said, one political party just fell in behind on that one. But we’re starting to see a lot of really high-level lawsuits from big companies against health insurers and PBMs for really violating their fiduciary duty underneath ERISA laws. So, I think there’s a couple of different avenues that we can see change, and I don’t know if anything changes tomorrow. But in the next couple of years, like you said, I think there’s going to be a lot of seismic shift, and then a lot of windows emerging from the Federal standpoint. And then from the industry standpoint, that could really set us up for an interesting 2024 election cycle, and a window of opportunity in 2025. If everything goes according to plan from elections, and like I said, lawsuits, and these winds of change happening. Come 2025, what is your wish list that you’re going to put in there and say, “Hey, guys, this is how we completely fix healthcare. This is what we need to do. Let’s go get it done.”


[0:29:24] Dean Clancy: Great question. We call that the 2025 reform window. And all of our work is leading up to that. We’re trying to create the conditions now to be able to get the best possible health reforms done then, when we hope to have aligned policymakers in majorities, in both houses of Congress and controlling the White House. Our last reform window was 2017, and we know how that went. After that failure, we did get some very good actions out of the Trump administration to promote better health care, price transparency, short-term renewable health plans, association health plans, and a number of other things. Great stuff. But of course, that can all be wiped away with the stroke of the presidential pen. And in fact, President Biden has worked to remove a number of those good reforms.


So, 2025, if the stars line up, here’s what we want to accomplish. We want HSAs for All, and falling short of that, for as many as possible. Only about 10% of Americans today, effectively, have access to a health savings account. We want that to be 100% or as close as possible, and there are a number of paths to get there. You have to consider budgetary effects and there will be lobbying by the insurance companies against it. But that’s the goal. It’s promising. I think we can move substantially down the road toward that goal.


We want, of course, make sure the DPC is fully tax deductible and HSA and FSA compatible, and we have strong support in Congress for that, and I think, we’ll get that done. Maybe even before 2025. We do want to see the site neutral payment reform in Medicare that we’ve talked about. And that has bipartisan support, by the way. Left, right, and center agree the current policy is dumb and not helping people. And really, the only opposition to it is the hospitals. They like the status quo and those extra payments.


[0:31:41] Christopher Habig: It’s an artifact from the ACA where they thought consolidation was going to help foster innovation, so they allowed hospitals to legally charge like 3x what an independent center would. And the authors of the ACA, I think it was like 2015 or 2016 it came out, did an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and said, “Yes, this was the wrong thing to do.” Then, here we are, talking in 2023. I’m like, “Well, how is that still there? Why don’t we learn from our mistakes?” But that’s a different subject altogether, coming through pandemics and all that kind of fun stuff, Dean. So, I wanted to pop in there and just give people a little bit of color of why that is, why a hospital can charge three times for an MRI than an independent place could. The legislators gave it to them.


[0:32:22] Dean Clancy: Yes. Oh, yes. In fact, almost every problem in healthcare today can be traced back to some dumb or misguided government policy. That means we can fix them. These problems are not inevitable.


[0:32:35] Christopher Habig: If we learn. If we learn though, that’s the big part of it. But you said earlier, we’re looking at Europe and watching them fall on their faces, and the Canadians, and it’s just like, “Why is that even in there?” Like I said, we’ve been talking about that ad nauseam. I cut you off, I jumped in there. So, please lay out the rest of your wish list for us, if you would.


[0:32:57] Dean Clancy: Well, of course, we want to get the CHOICE plans codified in law, so a president cannot eliminate them unilaterally. We want short-term health plans to be protected. These are the last remnant of real health insurance. They’re priced according to risk. So, as a result, the prices are reasonable, and they encourage people to buy coverage while they’re healthy, rather than waiting until they get sick, and they’re a real lifesaver. About three million Americans are relying on these short-term insurance plans.


Now, the progressives are attacking them, as you know, subpart covers. They call them junk plans. But the fact is, many of them are just as comprehensive as an Obamacare regulated plan, except that they’re much more affordable, like 50% to 80% more affordable, and each state can decide on its own how much it wants to regulate these plans. The prudent states, which happily as a majority, have basically said, “We’re going to let the market work in that area.” And it is working, and now Joe Biden is trying to take health insurance away from three million Americans simply because it doesn’t fit the ideological template of what he and his coalition think is the right kind of care.


My line is, the liberals don’t care what we do, as long as it’s mandatory and short-term plans is a perfect example. The list goes on. I’m suddenly blocking on the other things we want to accomplish, but you get the general idea. The price transparency. If we can do a good percentage of these things, we will have had a good legislative year in 2025.


[0:34:45] Christopher Habig: I am encouraged that you said, you think you can get some of these things across the finish line without the Republicans taking the House, the Senate, and the White House. So, there is a little bit of hope for people, and I think that’s nice for people to hear. When we talk to people on the Senate, Health Education, Labor, and Pension panel, and it’s like there’s a consensus that we need to invest more time and effort, not necessarily public money, in my opinion. But in primary care. Primary care can be a great starting point for a lot of needs to keep people out of the ER, keep people out of specialty. Just the differences though, there’s a disagreement on who’s going to pay for that. Is it going to be the taxpayers? Or is it going to be the people in the market? How do we be able to foster that, like government should do, create an environment where markets can now run their course and get people where they need to go.


Again, it’s not pushing people off cliffs, like you said. There’s a safety net. The safety net exists. But if everybody relies on a safety net, then it’s a longer safety net, and it’s going to just crumble, as we are seeing in other countries taking place today. You look at the NHS over in the UK, and it’s crumbling. If you have a heart attack, you’re not going to see a doctor for over three hours. Same thing with strokes. Guess what happens to people? They don’t make it.


[0:36:06] Dean Clancy: Well, who needs a doctor for the first three hours after heart attack? I mean, people should be patient, Christopher.


[0:36:13] Christopher Habig: That’s why they make aspirin, right? That’s exactly right there.


[0:36:16] Dean Clancy: Exactly. Say your prayers.


[0:36:20] Christopher Habig: There you go. There you go. Last question for you, wrapping this up. As you guys, as the AFP really unveils this healthcare plan across the nation, I’m going to give you the power to run all the billboards in the country. What do you put on those billboards to grab people’s attention driving by at 80 miles an hour, that gets them thinking? What does those billboards say?


[0:36:41] Dean Clancy: They say, Healthcare is Personal, so you need a Personal Option. I don’t know how much room I have left on the Billboard. I guess, phone number, or better yet, a website. In fact, we have a website,, where we lay out the vision and put the meat on the bones of a personal option. It really comes down to trust. Who do you trust with your healthcare? The government or your own doctor? A big insurance company or your own doctor? Some local hospital monopoly or your own doctor? Healthcare is about doctors, and other trusted medical providers. And of course, at the end of the day, patients are the consumers, or rather, they should be the consumers. They’re not today. That’s the problem. And that’s what we’re trying to solve.


[0:37:40] Christopher Habig: Amen. Like we always say, that insurance does not equal healthcare. And if we can keep drilling that in people’s heads and separate those two ideas completely, I think we’re all going to be better.


Dean Clancy, Senior Health Policy Fellow, Americans for Prosperity. Dean, thanks for joining us here on Healthcare Americana.


[0:37:59] Dean Clancy: My pleasure.


[0:38:00] Christopher Habig: That’s going to do it for this episode of Healthcare Americana. If you haven’t yet, be sure to subscribe the show in your favorite podcast platform. Check us out online at to catch previous episodes, subscribe to our mailing list, and visit our online store. Once again, I am your host, Christopher Habig. Thanks for listening.




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[0:39:22] Christopher Habig: Hi, again, everyone. This is Chris. In Healthcare Americana, we’re always on the lookout for great stories to tell in the healthcare industry. We’d like to hear yours. Check out, and send us your ideas for episodes or if you’d like to be a guest. Thanks again for listening. Hope you enjoy it.