A local man wrote me recently to tell me that he had just returned from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. He had a rather rare and life threatening form of pneumonia that his doctors here on Hilton Head Island (quite good by most standards) had failed to diagnose and treat. Had he not been able to go to the Mayo Clinic he would likely have died. Fortunately, he had insurance that permitted him to choose the hospitals and doctors he needed.
This gentleman does not have ObamaCare. If he did, he would likely be dead!
A new report shows that many of the nation's top hospitals which specialize in treating the most difficult and deadly illnesses are not part of the ObamaCare plan. Those who are very sick or with rare or complicated disease may not be able to get the help they need. That is, if they can even find a doctor.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former official with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency within the Department of Health and Humand Services that manages ObamaCare, recently testified before the House Ways and Means Committee that many ObamaCare plans have too few physicians for the number of people in a particular area. In an op-ed Dr. Gottlieb wrote for Forbes, he summarized the problem:
No, in all likelihood, you can’t keep your doctor.And don't just take an expert's opinion for it. Here's a sampling of reports across the media spectrum:
I found one Obamacare health plan that offers access to only seven pediatricians for a county with 260,000 children. Another Obamacare plan offers access to only nine dermatologists, most 100 miles away. A systematic analysis we did of the plans shows that, on average, their networks include about 40% to 50% of the number of specialists that are available in comparable commercial PPO health plans.
- Obama’s “High-Profile Pledge” That All Americans Could Keep Their Doctor Under ObamaCare Is His Next Broken Promise.“Barack Obama’s broken promise that all Americans would be able to keep their health care plans after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has infuriated people who took the President at his word and rattled even his staunchest supporters. But for the President, the real political pain may only be starting. Come 2014, the rest of the country may learn that another high-profile pledge was untrue. ‘No matter how we reform health care,’ Obama said in 2009, ‘we will keep this promise: if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period.’” (Alex Altman, “‘You Can Keep Your Doctor’: ObamaCare’s Next Broken Promise?” Time , 11/19/13)
- Despite Obama’s Promise, “New Plans Appear To Offer A Narrow Choice Of Hospitals And Doctors.” “Obama promised people could keep their doctors. But in many states the new plans appear to offer a narrow choice of hospitals and doctors. Overall, it’s shaping up as less choice than what people get through Medicare or employer-based coverage.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Holly Ramer, “Limited Patient Choice Next Overhaul Issue,” The Associated Press, 11/20/13)
- Keeping Your Provider Is “The Next Vexing Challenge For Americans” Created By ObamaCare.“Keeping your doctors and hospitals may be the next vexing challenge for Americans in the new health plans created by President Barack Obama’s law.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Holly Ramer, “Limited Patient Choice Next Overhaul Issue,” The Associated Press.
- Under ObamaCare, “Many Insurers Are Significantly Limiting The Choices Of Doctors And Hospitals Available To Consumers.” “Federal officials often say that health insurance will cost consumers less than expected under President Obama’s health care law. But they rarely mention one big reason: many insurers are significantly limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers.” (Robert Pear, “Lower Health Insurance Premiums To Come At Cost Of Fewer Choices,” The New York Times , 9/23/13)
- ObamaCare’s Mandates Are Leading To “Limited Choices And Significant Out-Of-Pocket Costs.” “Exchange plans are required to take all applicants, cover broad benefits and provide robust financial protection against catastrophic illness. In return for that, something else has to give. The result: limited choices and significant out-of-pocket costs through deductibles and copayments.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Holly Ramer, “Limited Patient Choice Next Overhaul Issue,”The Associated Press, 11/20/13)
- Californians Are Likely To Experience “Long Wait Times, A Scarcity Of Specialists And Loss Of A Longtime Doctor.” “These diminished medical networks are fueling growing concerns that many patients will still struggle to get care despite the nation’s biggest healthcare expansion in half a century. Consumers could see long wait times, a scarcity of specialists and loss of a longtime doctor.” (Chad Terhune, “Insurers Limiting Doctors, Hospitals In Health Insurance Market,” Los Angeles Times, 9/14/13)
- Harvard School Of Public Health Professor Robert J. Blendon: “Some Of These Plans Exclude Coverage At Children’s Hospitals As Well, Which Means Some Parents With Sick Children Will Have To Change Their Source Of Care.” Robert J. Blendon, a professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health: “This is the next big political story. The president promised people they could keep their doctor and implicitly their hospital. A number of state exchanges are like New Hampshire in that they are offering what are called narrow network plans. Some of these plans exclude coverage at children’s hospitals as well, which means some parents with sick children will have to change their source of care. This too is not what was promised.” (Thomas B. Edsall, Op-Ed, “The ObamaCare Crisis,” The New York Times, 11/20/13)
- Many Consumers In New Hampshire May Have To Drive Nearly An Hour For A Doctor.“Peter L. Gosline, the chief executive of Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, N.H., said his hospital had been excluded from the network without any discussions or negotiations. ‘Many consumers will have to drive 30 minutes to an hour to reach other doctors and hospitals,’ Mr. Gosline said. ‘It’s very inconvenient for patients, and at times it’s a hardship.’” (Robert Pear, “Lower Health Insurance Premiums To Come At Cost Of Fewer Choices,” The New York Times , 9/23/13)