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The purpose of our member highlight is to shine a spotlight on outstanding individuals who form part of a groundbreaking network as members of the San Antonio Free Market Medical Association. For our February issue, we chose to chat with the Director of Right on Healthcare, David Balat.
David Balat is a strong supporter and member of the Free Market Medical Association. As someone who used to be in hospital administration, he has deep insider knowledge that allows him to expose and explain the shortcomings of our healthcare system. We want to thank him for his support and efforts to help change policy with his work within Right on Healthcare.
My name is David Balat. I'm the Director for the Right On Healthcare initiative with the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, Texas.
The foundation is a nonprofit that conducts research and uses that research to influence and educate lawmakers and the public at large.
It's for common cause to change healthcare for the better for Texans and Americans alike. A great organization. The Free Market Medical Association has been around for a while. They're teaching physicians and advisors, people who are brokers. They're teaching members of the community, employers that healthcare doesn't have to be as bad as it is. That there is another way and it's really opening the eyes of those folks so that they can be brave enough to take the step and know that they're not alone. Because much of the fear comes from people not wanting to be the first to do something. And so FMMA is creating a community that allows people to be brave and to do things that they wouldn't normally do on their own.
My first exposure was an opportunity to go to various conferences as the hospital CEO chose one in OKC in 2011. That was my first exposure. I met Dr. Goyle and was invited to be a part of the Houston chapter with Dr. Dickerson. I also met Dr. Tony Dale and Carl Schulser. I've always worked in some department of a hospital and then found myself on a career path as a hospital administrator. I was a healthcare executive and a hospital CEO for a number of years, and I truly loved it until I didn't, because health care has really changed from when I first got into that business and hospitals certainly have as well. During that process, during that journey, I ended up meeting some of those folks that form the organization of which I'm now apart and I'm working with them.
It looked like something that was consistent with my way of thinking which was consistent with how I run the hospital and my businesses.
I was introduced to Dr. Roger Moczygemba. He was a part of Congressman Chip Roy's advisory group and he introduced me to Shankar Poncelet. I didn’t know those two had a partnership in San Antonio. I also heard about the SA chapter through Kris Held. People in the free market are good at networking and finding each other and developing allies.
Now, many people would say that our current system is irreparable. At times I want to agree with them, but that doesn't mean that we don't stop and fight and voice our opinion opposed to what that system currently is. Now, what FMMA does a great job of doing is they create a parallel system, something that is completely other outside of the current system that will force that current system to compete, which is what is badly needed. There's no competition in the industry. You know, the one thing that I hear from lawmakers is that they don't know what people believe or what they think, and they're relying on think tanks and they're relying on polls, and they're relying on special interest groups. And the one thing that I would say to everybody who's watching this or listening to this is get involved, be engaged. You abdicate your right to complain if you're not a part of the process to change the things, so make a phone call, send an email. It can be as simple as that. Go to an event, make an appointment to go see them in their office, but just do something. Better than having you knowing who they are. Have them know who you are because you are the voter. You put them in that spot and it's important for you to be involved.
I’m the Executive Director of Free2Care.org. I started that before doing what I do at Physician and patient advocacy a non-profit that educates and influences federal agencies on matters of healthcare. We have 32 member organizations and over 8 million people and over 70,000 physicians as advocates of Free2Care.
I also serve on an advisory board of education, women’s direct care guide as advisory director. I’m a Director for Right on Healthcare at Texas Public Policy Foundation. I’m a big believer that state government is where most of the solutions will come from, the more local you get, the more effective you’ll be. County government, local government is where changes are going to come about because that’s where the people are.
About the San Antonio Free Market Medical Association
Organized in 2019, Roger Moczygemba, MD and Shankar Poncelet came together with other thought leaders in the community with the goal to lower the cost of healthcare in San Antonio through price transparency, reference-based pricing, and local connection.
The San Antonio FMMA recognizes the three pillars on which the national FMMA was founded by Jay Kempton and Dr. Keith Smith in 2014:
1. Price is not a product.
2. Value is mutually determined and requires transparent pricing and quality.
3. Cash is king, the equality of price is critical.
The FMMA connects buyers and sellers of healthcare, educating and motivating them to work together based upon a mutually beneficial relationship built on the pillars. To learn more, visit https://SanAntonioFMMA.org or contact email@example.com
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