Video: If you like your doctor …
posted at 10:41 am on January 22, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
Last year, Politifact called “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” the Lie of the Year for 2013, after having defended Barack Obama’s promise for two years. Perhaps in 2014, they might consider the second part of Obama’s promise a candidate in 2014. The second part, where Obama promised that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” is proving just as false:
“Beth Kramer says she’s running out of options. And out of time,” says the local reporter.
“The disabled mother of two says she’s out of medication for an autoimmune disease, she’s run out of antibiotics for a painful internal infection, and the health plan she’s paid for through the Affordable Care Act keeps sending her to doctors who say they can’t treat her because they won’t take her insurance.”
“I’m out of medication,” says Kramer. “I’m sitting here with an infection and I’m out of antibiotics and the symptoms are coming back. And I have no idea when I can go to a doctor or where.”
Says the reporter, “Kramer signed up for health care under the Affordable Care Act through Covered California, the agency that is coordinating health care coverage between consumers and health insurance companies in California.”
Oddly, KCBS doesn’t have a story available on its website to highlight Beth Kramer’s woes, so Daniel Halper’s catch at the Weekly Standard is most useful. They do have one that reports on the demographics of Covered California sign-ups, which look pretty worrisome. Officials claim to be optimistic, but perhaps California insurers won’t share that outlook:
Officials with California’s health insurance exchange Tuesday said about 625,000 people have signed up for an individual or family policy under the federal health care reforms, but enrollments for Latinos and younger people continue to lag expectations.
Younger people are crucial for the private insurance market. Insurers need them to balance out the number of older customers, who are more likely to use health services.
About 25 percent of those choosing an insurance plan are in the 18- to 34-year-old group, below the roughly 36 percent that Covered California, as the exchange is called, eventually wants to see.
Unfortunately, Beth Kramer is not alone. WKBN in Ohio reports that hundreds of patients in Ohio have discovered that Medicare Advantage cuts pushed providers out of their networks, and now have to change doctors too:
Hundreds of people in the Mahoning Valley can no longer go to their trusted doctors, and local officials say the Affordable Care Act is to blame.
Doctors from the Mahoning County Medical Association sat down with US Representative Bill Johnson in Canfield Tuesday to discuss their concerns with UnitedHealthcare’s decision to drop local doctors, including the Eye Care Associates practice in Beaver Township, from their Medicare Advantage plans. That means patients either have to change doctors or pay out of their own pockets.
“Now they are facing the choice of switching to another doctor. They are really scared, really scared,” said Dr. H.S. Wang, Eye Care Associates, Beaver Township.
Dr. Sean McGrath, president of the Mahoning County Medical Society, said UnitedHealthcare made similar changes once before, knocking one of the area’s primary urology groups off the Medicare Advantage network. This makes costs higher and care worse for patients.
“It has done so by creating a significant geographic void of covered physicians that requires patients to travel further to receive their care,” said McGrath.
Remember, the “if you like your doctor” promise was specific to people already insured. Obama made that promise to claim that ObamaCare wouldn’t have any impact on existing markets, and would only change circumstances for the uninsured. In 2014, as more and more people seek treatment, this lie will get bigger and bigger. Perhaps Politifact will notice it, too.
Update: Hot Air reader David notes that I’m incorrect in my summation:
Please let Ed know that the end of the article is incorrect. ObamaCare didn’t ever promise to not have any impact on existing markets. They promised that people who already had insurance would see an average of $2500 a year decrease which hasn’t happened. Please expose all their lies.
Great point. Will Politifact ever notice that?