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The nation’s largest healthcare provider wants its unvaccinated doctors back

Kaiser Permanente is America’s oldest HMO and largest healthcare provider. It’s a superb institution but is suffering the consequences of embracing the leftist COVID narrative. As a sign of its retreat from its COVID dead-end, it’s now trying to get its unvaccinated doctors back into the fold.

For 33 years, I’ve been a completely satisfied Kaiser patient.* I’ve never received anything but good care from the people who work there, whether doctors, nurses, physical therapists, receptionists, pharmacists, or anyone else. I also think it’s a fantastic model of how medical care can be done well and affordably.

Kaiser is named after the industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, who founded it in 1945 after over a decade of providing low-cost healthcare to workers and their families. What made Kaiser’s treatment centers different was that they didn’t focus on treating only existing illnesses and injuries. Instead, the minds behind it figured out that a healthy workforce was a productive workforce, so Kaiser facilities emphasized preventative medicine.

Image by Freepik

From that single corporate beginning, Kaiser has grown into America’s largest Health Maintenance Organization, with offices across the West, Hawaii, and the Southeast. Unlike other HMOs, Kaiser is not an aggregation of independent physicians. It is, instead, a closed system. Everything—the hospitals, the medical clinics, the equipment, and the employees—is all under a single umbrella.

The great thing about Kaiser being a unitary system is that you get the care you need, neither more nor less. In most other systems, patients pay for every single service and test they receive, which incentivizes more tests and services, many of which are unnecessary. There are also “capitation” systems that give a physician a single lump sum per patient. If the patient gets minimal care, the physician wins; if the patient requires lots care, the patient loses. Again, for less principled people, that’s a bad incentive.

In Kaiser, the physicians are salaried and the enormously sophisticated and expensive testing equipment that modern medicine requires is all under one roof. Doctors can focus on care, not the bottom line.

Kaiser can also offer medicines at a low co-pay because it buys them in bulk. In addition, pharmacy committees decide on standard medicines for standard conditions. They aren’t enticed by pharmaceutical salesmen assuring individual physicians that the latest expensive medicine is a must-prescribe.

As I said, I’m all in on the Kaiser model and completely satisfied with the care I’ve received from Kaiser over the decades.

Having said that, there’s no doubt that Kaiser management hews to the Democrat side of the spectrum. For example, it’s been all-in on transgender madness, which I find heinous, unscientific, and unprincipled. (If you want an example out of the UK about how so-called “gender-affirming” care is being done, not for the patients but to satisfy the providers’ own needs, read this tragic X thread.)

Also, during COVID, Kaiser was at the front of the line—proudly so—for vaccination. That meant that when state and local governments demanded vaccinations for physicians, and when Joe Biden issued an executive order mandating vaccinations for healthcare workers in facilities receiving federal reimbursement (that means all of them), Kaiser meekly went along with the mandates.

Kaiser did so despite being the largest healthcare provider in America, which means that it has an enormous voice in the medical field. That’s why, in 2021, Kaiser fired all physicians who refused vaccinations and didn’t qualify for exemptions.

Now, though, those mandates are gone, and Kaiser is facing a reckoning in the form of a physician shortage. It’s therefore issued a letter to former Kaiser physicians, essentially begging them to come back:

Well! I would have expected the letter to have some language about reinstating all accrued retirement benefits, but maybe that’s a bridge too far.

Kaiser’s apparent staffing struggles (it wouldn’t have sent out the letter if it weren’t struggling) reflect what happens to all institutions that embrace leftist tenets: They hurt themselves. I sincerely hope that Kaiser is able to repair matters because, as I said, I think the world of the institution.


*Full disclosure: I have financial ties to Kaiser, but I would love it even if I didn’t.

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