When the patient-doctor relationship is undermined by bad healthcare regulations, everyone suffers. BRI seeks to educate and inform medical students about positive, proven healthcare policies that preserve and protect this fundamental medical relationship.
What is BRI?
BRI unites medical students, faculty, doctors, healthcare professionals and others from across the political spectrum, who believe that free enterprise and a direct patient-doctor relationship are the best means of ensuring optimal patient outcomes at affordable prices.
Healthcare is one of the most important policy issues today. BRI asserts that no public policy issue impacts American lives more profoundly than healthcare. Yet most medical students fail to understand the true impact of the Affordable Care Act and other key healthcare policies on both their future practices and on their relationships with patients.
In spite of receiving the best medical education in the world, the days are gone when doctors could practice their profession without significant regulatory interference. Because healthcare policy has such a direct and pervasive effect on patient care, medical students must understand healthcare policy in addition to medical sciences.
Yet, medical schools rarely present health policy in a balanced way. Instead of examining competing ideas and holding open discussions about the best healthcare options, students are presented solutions permeated by the assumption that government rightly must play a predominant role.
If discussed at all, private options and freedom of choice are dismissed as unrealistic, inherently corrupt or unjust. On some campuses, the government’s role is not even to be questioned.
As reported in a recent email we received (italics added):
“I initially heard about Benjamin Rush Institute after a simple Google search for free market healthcare groups at med schools. Half of my education here at U—- is intense sciences, and the other half is advocating for national healthcare systems, raising the minimum wage, income redistribution, and a variety of other public health policies. I got fed up with it and found your organization online.”
A clinical professor of medicine reported this experience:
“I recently gave a forum on private practice to first year medical students at [a northeastern university]. An older student … said that he and a classmate raised questions about ‘single payer medical financing’ with one of their public health teachers. She complained to the school administration and word came down that students are not to criticize single payer. He is afraid to start a Benjamin Rush Institute chapter.”
BRI seeks to be the voice of moderated reason, reaching medical students and healthcare professionals who yearn for liberty and preserving the direct patient-doctor relationship without undue government and regulatory intervention. We give medical students a voice and empowerment to overcome the push towards socialized, over-regulated healthcare.
BRI chapters are our avenues to educate medical students, re-focus healthcare policy on inviolate doctor-patient autonomy, and create a lasting legacy of healthcare freedom and medical excellence.
Our History and Mission
In 2008, Sally Pipes, founder of the Pacific Research Institute, saw a need to counter the encroaching government regulation of American healthcare. Having lost her mother to the Canadian “single-payer” system, Ms. Pipes, an American citizen, was very concerned about the direction American healthcare was going. She founded Benjamin Rush Institute, and in 2013 BRI became an independent institute focused on educating medical students around the world on the benefits of free market enterprise in healthcare.
No public policy issue impacts American lives more profoundly than healthcare. BRI believes that the best way to deliver quality, affordable medical care is through a free enterprise system. Yet, most medical students today are instructed overwhelmingly in healthcare policy that promotes a government-centric approach to healthcare, and rarely—if ever—encounter a voice promoting free markets and the sanctity of the patient-doctor relationship. On some campuses the government’s role in healthcare is not even to be questioned.
It’s no wonder that most medical students fail to understand the true impact of the Affordable Care Act and other key healthcare policies currently deliberated in Washington DC and states across the nation.
Today, medical students must understand healthcare policy in addition to medical sciences. BRI fills the gap where free enterprise healthcare policy discussion is absent or under-represented.
BRI is a 501(c)3 tax-deductible public charity.
Who Was Benjamin Rush?
Dr. Rush was a leading doctor in the American founding era and one of five physician signers of the Declaration of Independence. He believed in medicine as a profession and that America’s founding principles of freedom complemented and protected the patient-doctor relationship.
According to Dr. Rush and the Founders, government doesn’t bestow human rights. Rather, it is government’s duty to protect natural human rights. In order to secure the blessings of liberty—which includes doctors’ ability to treat their patients without stifling regulation—government must be limited and operate similarly to medicine’s guiding principle:
First, do no harm.
BRI members are people who want to promote healthcare freedom and preserve the sanctity of a direct patient-doctor relationship. Member dues and donations support BRI medical school chapters in hosting meaningful, engaging and educational events like debates, panel discussions, movie screenings, journal clubs, and more.
All of these events serve to expand the dialogue about free market healthcare solutions as the best means to deliver high quality, accessible and affordable medical care.
“As I progress through my third year, seeing the cynicism, frustrations, and exhaustion of physicians with all of the systems in place that work against the patient and physician alike just makes me more certain that a day will come when I have my own DPC practice. I’ve been pondering what specialty I may ultimately apply to next year, and to be honest, I have to admit to pulling data on physician burnout across specialties, wondering if that will be me one day, and including that as a factor in my decision. It’s SO SAD that I even have to consider something like that…especially when I’m interested in primary care!” Medical student, Leadership Conference attendee
Student members are also eligible to receive scholarships to attend other organizations’ conferences to further their education and understanding of free market principles and healthcare economics. These student scholarships are made possible by our generous and supportive membership body.
“The (Direct Primary Care) DPC Deconstructed conference was educative. It made me realise even more how exciting private practice can be without the interference of insurance and irrelevant government policies. It also reiterated the fact that as a doctor the most important person is the Patient.” ~Z.O. medical student, Ibadan University Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
On a personal level, student members report making valuable lifetime connections with medical professionals and expanding their leadership and public speaking skills. Many students who attend BRI’s yearly Leadership Conference report that this conference alone positively impacted their outlook on what their future in medicine can be.
I have been miserable during my M2 year of medical school. The courses have been a slog of basic sciences and patients are treated as malfunctioning machines. The BRI Student Leadership conference revitalized my love of medicine and my love for the doctor-patient relationship. There is nothing more powerful that being a source of kindness and confidence for a patient. I have been re-inspired by the conference. I also deeply admire the initiatives of other BRI students.” Medical student, Leadership Conference attendee
Statement of Principles
Should we build facts upon facts until our pile reached the heavens, they would soon tumble to pieces unless they were cemented by principles … Medicine without principles … is a degrading occupation … but directed by principles, it imparts the highest elevation to the intellectual and moral character of man. ~ Benjamin Rush, MD, from Lectures Upon the Institutes and Practice of Medicine (1811)
Fully unleash the power of medicine to maximize human health and well-being.
Promote solutions that protect the doctor-patient relationship as the primary means of delivering quality medical care and rely on free enterprise—not bureaucratic dictates—to encourage life-saving innovation and reduce costs.
To accomplish BRI’s mission, we:
Establish BRI Chapters and Affiliates throughout the United States, with a focus on reaching medical students;
Provide educational debates, lectures, events and resources emphasizing the essential role of the doctor-patient relationship and free enterprise for ensuring optimal patient outcomes at affordable prices;
Equip medical professionals with the knowledge and skills to be effective ambassadors for freedom in medicine.
A world of affordable, quality healthcare accompanied by accelerating medical innovation and excellence.
How is BRI Advancing Its Goals?
BRI medical student leaders hold debates, lectures and discussions on their campuses, featuring locally and nationally renowned healthcare economists, doctors and policy experts. Through these events, BRI broadens students’ understanding of complex issues from a free market perspective. They are exposed to neglected alternative solutions to today’s healthcare challenges.
Left unsolved, many of today’s detrimental policies will significantly impact their future careers in medicine. BRI makes sure that as many students as possible have the opportunity to be made aware of them and see what can be done.