Health care patients in South Dakota may soon have the option to stay with the doctor of their choice instead of having to use the one their health care network specifies. Legislators passed House Bill 1142 on Wednesday which ultimately places the decision of which doctor to see in the hands of the patient, not the system.
Opponents of the bill agree that individual rights are important, but they say more choices means patients will end up paying more for health care. Representative Spencer Hawley opposes the bill. He sells health insurance and says based on his experience this legislation could potentially drive up health care costs.
“Based on the network you pick you pay a different premium. If you want a big, wide-open network that gives you the ability to go to every doctor you pay a little bit more premium. If you say, 'No, I need to save my dollars give me the cheapest plan' then we get a real tight network," says Hawley.
Supporters of the bill say it allows patients to have more control over their own health. They add that it protects the patient/doctor relationship by allowing patients to continue seeing the same doctor over time. The bill goes next to the Senate.