President Obama has long appeared to have a love affair with all-things-European and especially the healthcare from Europe. His signature piece of legislation was largely modeled off of the social health industry of Europe, so what happens in Europe should be of keen interest in the United States. Recalling Obama’s promised that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” the news out of Europe on who decides which doctor you will see is alarming.
The European Advisory Board has just announced that“restricting patient choice of doctors is not illegal.” The Netherlands highest legal body declared it was perfectly legal for insurance companies to decide which doctors patients can and cannot see. Legislation has been put forward which will restrict rights to freedom of choice in healthcare.
According to the Dutch News, this means that patients who are referred to a specialist by their doctor would need to get approval from their insurance before attending the visit. If not, they may discover the specialist is not covered by their insurance and incur an out of pocket expense for healthcare. In addition, this change would also “impact the right of people to be treated for non-emergency situations in other European Union countries.”
Many opponents of the Affordable Healthcare Act, better known as Obamacare, have voiced similar concerns about doctor choice. President Obama and other supporters of Obamacare have done very little to walk back the deceptions they made while campaigning for healthcare reform. The healthcare law in the US is the first piece of legislation to actually become less popular the longer it was in place. Attempts to repeal and replace the law appear daunting but measures for reform are likely to be forthcoming after the midterm elections.