Physicians: Obamacare's Hidden Effects Are Brutal, Especially for Those With Cancer

Thursday, 22 Aug 2013 08:12 AM

By John Morgan

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Adverse effects from Obamacare will fall disproportionately on Americans with serious illnesses — especially those with cancer — and, what's more, many physicians will be unwilling to serve Medicaid patients despite the law, Forbes reported in a double broadside against the new health law.

The Affordable Care Act will curb the ability of patients to use specialty doctors who offer the most advanced cancer treatments, according to Forbes columnist Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a practicing physician and senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

"The only thing that health plans are permitted to do under Obamacare is narrow the networks of providers that they contract with," Gottlieb wrote.

Editor’s Note:
Will This Video Get Obama Fired? See the Evidence.

"So that's precisely what they're doing. By contracting with fewer providers, insurers can cheapen their coverage by clamping down on what doctors prescribe. This will hit cancer patients especially hard."

And if patients go outside of their networks under Obamacare, they are likely to be slapped with expensive co-insurance, according to Gottlieb. "They could be stuck with the entire bill."

Obamacare aims at cancer drugs directly by expanding a federal program that takes away money from drug developers in order to subsidize hospitals — a favored group of Obama administration supporters, he noted.

Under the program, hospitals can buy cancer medicines from drug companies at a "forced discount" of up to 50 percent, and then bill government and private insurers for the total cost and "pocket the spread," Gottlieb wrote.

In a separate Forbes article, Dr. Peter Ubel, a physician and Duke University behavioral scientist, noted that many states plan to offer Medicaid to anyone with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty line.

However, even if Medicaid coverage expands under Obamacare, Ubel predicted many physicians would be unwilling to care for Medicaid patients.

He cited a July study in the journal Health Affairs that showed 40 percent of orthopedic surgeons and 56 percent of psychiatrists are unwilling to accept new Medicaid patients.

According to Ubel, healthcare coverage is not the same as healthcare access.

"Physicians have to be willing to see patients. And if Medicaid does not pay well enough to incentivize physicians to see Medicaid patients, or if it is too slow to pay off claims or if some other barrier stands in the way of helping these patients receive needed medical care — then we need to address those barriers."

CNBC reported that, under Obamacare, it may be more economical for some families to drop their employer-sponsored health subsidies and instead buy insurance with government subsidies from the Obamacare state health exchanges.

"It is no use to obtain healthcare coverage that doesn’t get you healthcare," Ubel proclaimed.

Editor’s Note: Will This Video Get Obama Fired? See the Evidence.

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