| December 5, 2013

Free-market medicine receiving national attention

When Oklahoma City physician Keith Smith appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s program Monday night on Fox News, it was just the latest instance of what’s becoming a common occurrence. As Patrick McGuigan reports (“Dr. Smith goes to Washington: Oklahoma doctor gains national prominence supporting free market”), “Smith has become a ‘go-to’ guy for analysts, regardless of philosophy, who want a thoughtful market-oriented critique of the current and emerging state of American health-care delivery.”

Smith founded the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, which has garnered rave reviews and sympathetic news stories in the regional and national news media, including in Oklahoma’s largest newspaper. He now regularly testifies before Congress.

Since the early 1990s, Smith and his colleagues have rebuffed not only federal health care funding but also most “Big Insurance” requirements. The center is thriving as a model for affordable, market-oriented, cash-basis health care. Further, the facility’s physicians and staff share a commitment to provide reduced-cost or pro bono care for people who need it.

The recognition came slow, at first, but it has built the past two years, after stories that gained wide circulation through,, at blogs for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, and through John Stossel, also of Fox. …

Smith reports the vast majority of patients at the center are drawn initially by lower prices but retained by high-quality care. In slow motion, online transparency for medical costs is catching on in Oklahoma.

Indeed, one writer at the Foundation for Economic Education calls Oklahoma City “the Silicon Valley of healthcare” and asks the question: “Can this man save health care?” At a time when a president who promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” is attempting to do just that, it’s encouraging that freedom fighters in Oklahoma are pushing back.

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