Remember when President Obama promised us that if we liked our doctors, we could keep them? As predicted, this may not necessarily be the case at all. In fact, many physicians are already saying “no” to Obamacare insurer plans, which is becoming a major concern. Because the reimbursement rates to doctors are lower under these plans (closer to Medicare rates than private insurers), more doctors may be likely to reject them in the near future. So, while more Americans may have access to insurance under Obamacare, it does not necessarily translate into having access to doctors and hospitals.
Dr. Doug Gerard, an internist in Hartford CT explains:
“I cannot accept a plan [in which] potentially commercial-type reimbursement rates were now going to be reimbursed at Medicare rates. You have to maintain a certain mix in private practice between the low reimbursers and the high reimbursers to be able to keep the lights on. I don’t think most physicians know what they’re being reimbursed. Only when they start seeing some of those rates come through will they realize how low the rates are they agreed to.”
Many physicians are small business owners who have overhead to pay, including employees hired just to keep up with all the new Obamacare regulations. Here are a few statements from doctors and healthcare providers:
Ken Lalime, CEO of Healthy CT, an insurance co-op: “Insurers face a real challenge figuring out how to pay doctors enough but also keep consumer premiums low.”
Dr. Bob Russo, a radiologist and the president-elect of the Connecticut State Medical Society: “The low rates and administrative burdens that come along with the ACA could make it a financial loser…You get what you pay for. If you can’t convince [doctors] that they’re not losing money doing their job, then it’s a problem. And they haven’t been able to convince people of that.”
Kevin Counihan, who runs Connecticut’s health insurance marketplace: “That’s been something, at least in our state, that we’re trying to work against.”
And from my own husband Dr. Paul Sasser (a general surgeon): “We are very likely to end up with a two-tiered system under Obamacare where someone who gets a subsidy to buy Obamacare coverage will likely get inferior care to those who buy coverage in the private market.”
Yet, it seems pretty inevitable at this point. After all, what do we expect from a healthcare bill that wasn’t even read until it actually became law?