Old and busted: ObamaCare gives Americans health care! New hotness: ObamaCare gives Americans health care …. where they can’t get to it. Last week, in President Obama’s home town of Chicago, his supporters got a rude surprise. If they buy their health insurance on the ObamaCare exchange, they’d better look in some other city for hospitalization, because they won’t get covered in the Windy City:
Some of Chicago’s largest hospitals said they will not be part of any Cook County Affordable Care Act marketplace plans in 2017.
University of Chicago Medical Center and Rush University Medical Center both said they don’t plan to be in network for any Obamacare marketplace plans next year.
The change means patients with doctors at those hospitals will either need to find a plan off the marketplace, and lose Obamacare subsides, or find a new doctor.
Interestingly, Rush Oak Park Hopsital in the Chicago suburban area just made the news a day later after this announcement. It needs over $30 million to re-engineer its emergency-room facilities. Why? A flood of ObamaCare-covered patients has stretched it past its ability to respond. Wait, you might say — ObamaCare was supposed to alleviate ER use by covering clinic visits. True … but first you have to find a clinic that can take you:
Despite cramped quarters, the number of patients visiting Rush Oak Park’s ER swelled 32 percent from 2011 to 2015, totaling 32,480 patients last year. Bruce Elegant, president and CEO of the hospital, attributes the increase partly to Obamacare providing health plans for the uninsured, mirroring a national trend. Many uninsured patients have been used to using the ER for even basic health care needs, like treating a common cold, and though they now have insurance, many are scrambling to find a doctor amid a physician shortage.
“It’s really a matter of creating access for patients,” Elegant said of the proposed new ER.
Both stories show the folly of ObamaCare and of rationing systems in general. ObamaCare doesn’t actually provide care, it provides insurance — and not very good insurance, either, for patients or providers. Doctors, clinics, and hospitals provide care, and they won’t provide it at a loss, at least not for long. Chicago’s hospitals can’t cover those costs at the reimbursement rates offered by ObamaCare plans, and neither can clinics. Hence, all of those previously uninsured are now still going into ERs, along with people whose previous insurance didn’t cause those problems.
The perverse structure of ObamaCare has resulted, predictably, in rationing, both systemic and ad hoc. Minnesota had to agree to ration access to most major health plans when open enrollment begins next week just to keep insurers from shutting down operations in the state, and providers are rationing access to their services on their own to keep from going under. Critics of the ACA repeatedly warned that its incentives would produce exactly these outcomes, and reminded everyone ad infinitum that insurance does not equal care. Unfortunately, too many people insisted on learning that lesson the hard way.