Skip to comments.Obamacare's Next Problem: Doc Shock
Posted on 12/05/2013 4:08:35 PM PST by Kaslin
"The bottom line is this law is working and will work into the future," President Barack Obama said of his signature Affordable Care Act on Tuesday. It would be easier to believe the president if he hadn't said in 2009, "If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too."
One million Californians who lose their individual plans in 2014 know that's not true; when many saw their new premiums, they experienced "sticker shock." Next comes "doc shock" -- the revelation that many folks also won't be able to keep their doctors.
Meet Chico, Calif., attorney Kenneth Turner. His wife found out that she has breast cancer two days before they received their cancellation notice. She's scheduled for surgery Dec. 20 and will hear the prognosis Dec. 30. Two days later, she loses the doctor who will have operated on her, as well as other doctors she has seen for decades.
Because state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones used a technicality to force Blue Shield to grant 90-day reprieves, the Turner family will be able to extend its plan -- and face two years' worth of deductibles in 2014. Turner is just glad the family can afford that. "A lot of people couldn't swing this," Turner said. "I'm lucky I can."
California Association of Health Plans President Pat Johnston acknowledged that the state's 19 regions can restrict access to outside providers. Johnston believes that all consumers will have access to "quality care" but not necessarily the same doctors.
There also will be fewer choices in the new health order. Blue Shield is restricting access to close to half of its doctors and a quarter of its hospitals in the individual market -- and Blue Shield spokesman Steve Shivinsky told The Orange County Register these providers "had to agree to cut their rates" to get into the network.
In Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported, Health Net individual policyholders will have access to less than a third of the doctors on employer plans.
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, told the San Francisco Chronicle that all but three of the 12 state exchange providers limit doctors and hospitals.
Lee rightly points out that for years -- even before Obamacare -- the market has narrowed choices to cut costs. He is absolutely right. The New York Times reports that the University of California, Berkeley is about to exclude two nearby Sutter hospitals because UC could not reach a price agreement with California's highest net-income nonprofit hospital.
Critics of today's delivery system rejoice in such moves because they want a single-payer system. But the UC faculty union warned that the move will lead to "significant degradation in the quality of insurance" and "significant increases in costs" for members seeking "the same quality of care."
When employers cut off providers, the market can respond. When states and the federal government restrict access, they begin to make every health plan into a health maintenance organization.
Johnston believes that most consumers can find a plan with quality local providers. As for those doctors who no longer will be providers in the post-Covered California system, he noted, "Some doctors don't want to take a lower rate than they used to take."
Obama should have said: If your doctor likes a pay cut, you can keep your doctor.
They were all substandard, “junk” doctors.
The MSM will bark wildly and flap their flippers.
Beyond that many will find out there are no doctors to see at all. That will take longer to make itself apparent. The bad news on 0bamaCare is going to be a continuous stream for years to come.
Oh, what an evil, evil man!!! Being able to afford something others can't! Is there no end to the injustice?!?!
We lost some of our doctors thanks to the ACA. I’m ripped!
Growing up in Philadelphia, old “Shocky Doc” was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this thread!
Me too (South Jersey).
I lost my doctor due to kenyacare and I am on Medicare. United Health cut off all the local doctors and hospitals. I may have successfully changed over to Cigna. If so I will certainly be glad to get away from AARP.
What seems to be happening here is that the some of the infidel doctors are retiring or otherwise getting out of the business and the Saracens are picking up more medical business. They are willing to take the radical cuts to income that come with kenycare. Ormaybe they think they can make up for the cuts by volume- try to see three times as many patients as before. I suspect most of their medical care will be dispensed through office staff.
If I were younger, less fearful of an IRS going-over and endless suits, and a lot better with marketing and databases, I would start a cash-doctors exchange right about... now.
The only way Obamacare works is with a slave class of MDs, and Ubama would have no problem enslaving them.
I’m sure that the best doctors will stay and accept 0bamaCare plans, take deep cuts in pay, hire more staff for the increased paperwork, jam twice as many patients in per day and subordinate their judgment on treating them to regulations written by bureaucrats. That’s only logical. /s
Don’t worry, they can pardon Gosnell and several other doctors doing time and get them back on the street in a clutch.
I really hope that all the medicare people who voted for this dictatorship have to scramble for a new dr and I hope he speaks lousy English and has cold hands...
And, for the males..., REALLY FAT FINGERS!
Turner is probably a substandard attorney. Well, aren’t they all?
I have this idea.
Since Greece is in dire straits, and their doctors really in need of cash...why can’t we buy up forty retired cruise ships, and park them a dozen miles off the coast of the US?
We run taxi-shuttle boats from the pier of coastal towns out to the cruise ship with Greek doctors running their operation strictly on cash. You got a problem? You pay $50 and get treatment. Toss in some Filipino nurses, some Russian surgery experts, and you got a $60,000 surgery episode for less than $1,999.
I look for obummer to start a push to nationalize all doctors sometime this spring. (Make Doc's employees of the state)
There is at least one liner being or been modified to do just that but it is for American doctors who want out. I think I originally saw an entry about that on FR some months ago.
I think the opposite will happen. With the cost of going to a doctor SO prohibited expense now, with high copays and deductibles, most people will just live with there maladies unless they are near death. Going to the doctor will be a very rare thing, a luxury, in most people lives. There will less demand for doctors as people will just suffer through....
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