I’ve said for some time now that when Americans hear people in the government talk about controlling health care costs they ought to get scared. Because the only way the government can do that is by controlling access to care.
Case in point, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn who is retiring from the Senate after being diagnosed with cancer. According to Coburn, Obamacare cost him access to his cancer doctor.
“I’m doing well from a health standpoint, got great docs,” Coburn told “Morning Joe” when asked about his health. “Fortunately, even though my new coverage won’t cover my specialist — I’m going to have great care and I have a great prognosis.”
Senator Coburn’s experience is, unfortunately, not unique:
The top lobby group for US health insurance plans, America’s Health Insurance Plans, said the new healthcare law brought “new costs” to the industry and that selecting hospitals and physicians that meet “quality standards” was one way of making health plans more affordable for consumers.
But Mr Priselac at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles says the creation of ever more narrow provider networks by insurers is being driven by price alone, and not by quality. He says the hospitals that are being excluded are leaders in innovation, which saves billions of dollars for the healthcare system in the long run.
Even if Obamacare expands coverage – it hasn’t; so far fewer people are insured now than in 2009 when President Obama took office – what if that coverage is more expense in terms of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses? What if it doesn’t cover the care you need? Or the best quality care?
If you have coverage, but not for the care you need, what are we really accomplishing?
Sure, you can always pay out of pocket if the best doctors aren’t covered, but that’s not always an option for everybody. Even less so when insurance premiums are higher than before.