Doctors React to Governor’s Veto of Direct Primary Care Bill
Some primary care doctors react to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s veto of a bipartisan healthcare bill dealing with direct primary care.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Some primary care doctors in central Virginia are shocked and upset that Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a new, bipartisan healthcare bill. The bill would have clarified that "direct primary care" (DPC) is not the same thing as insurance.
DPC allows patients pay for a monthly subscription and get unlimited care, instead of using health insurance.
Dr. Maura McLaughlin is part of a growing group of physicians using DPC. Her patients at Blue Ridge Family Practice in Crozet pay $60 a month for unlimited visits and never file for insurance.
"Rather than have that insurance inflated cost every time they need to go in for primary care, they have a fixed monthly fee they can budget in,” McLaughlin said.
She still encourages patients to buy health insurance in case of emergency, but says it drives up costs for routine checkups.
“We would never buy car insurance to cover our gas because it would cost, you know, $20 dollars a gallons instead of $2 a gallon,” McLaughlin said.
25th District Delegate Steve Landes (R) introduced a bill to clarify that DPC was not the same thing as insurance.
It unanimously passed the House in February with bipartisan support, but Governor McAuliffe vetoed it Friday.
“I was disappointed, I think direct primary care has so many benefits,” said Dr. Jill Zackrisson, primary care physician.
McLaughlin says while she's frustrated, she hopes that similar legislation may pass in the future.
“The only group to oppose this bill and to encourage the governor to veto was the insurance lobby and so I can't speak to the exact reasons that he did veto it, but again the patients, physicians, local businesses were all pushing for this bill to pass,” McLaughlin said.
In his veto message, McAuliffe said he believes DPC deters people from buying health insurance. He proposed reintroducing the bill after one year of further study.