Dr. Marc Siegel is a physician who often appears on the Fox News Channel. He’s also a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. Today he writes in the New York Post about his experience with Obamacare. It’s not a rosy picture:
Last week’s Supreme Court arguments on ObamaCare struck me as a bit irrelevant, and not just because the case won’t impact New York.
The case is about whether federal subsidies are actually legal in states that didn’t set up their own insurance exchanges — but the truth is, ObamaCare is a bad deal even with the subsidies.
Down here in the medical trenches, the harsh reality of the Affordable Care Act continues to play out.
My patients continue to report delays in signing up for ObamaCare policies and are rarely happy with what they end up with. They all have high deductibles and a narrow network of doctors to choose from.
This isn’t their fault — it’s all they can afford. Of course, without the subsidies, my blue-collar patients, many of whom work part-time jobs, wouldn’t be able to afford ObamaCare insurance at all.
Keep in mind that federal subsidies cover 75 percent of ObamaCare premiums nationwide, so if the high court upholds the written language of the law, and not the Obama IRS’s decision to ignore that language, 7.5 million people will likely lose their coverage.
But, again, even with the subsidies, it’s no bargain.
When you use the insurance, you find that you have to pay out-of-pocket for your x-ray, ultrasound or lab work — and keep on paying for tests until you spend enough to cover your $5,000 deductible.
You can’t afford the test, so you delay it.
The law is so heavy with restrictions and penalties, and so light with actual improvements to care, that it isn’t working well even with the subsidies.
You also have to pay out of pocket to see your doctor (me) when you’re sick, and even though I may charge you half price for a visit, you find that the prominent dermatologist I’d usually refer you to for your severe psoriasis isn’t part of your new network and won’t give you a discount.
The skin doctor I come up with instead is less prominent and devises a treatment plan that doesn’t work that well.
Here in New York, the law has put in jeopardy the entire way I practice as a primary-care physician. The law is so heavy with restrictions and penalties, and so light with actual improvements to care, that it isn’t working well even with the subsidies.
I spend more than half of my time on any given day on computer documentation, pre-approvals, contesting billing errors by labs or hospitals and choosing unknown specialists from ObamaCare lists to refer patients to.
I see no evidence that the federal subsidies are going to pay for essential health care. Instead, they bolster rising premiums and help keep insurance companies solvent and profitable.
Now here come the Supremes, wading into ObamaCare deep water once again. If they enforce the wording of the law — so that subsidies can’t go to those 7.5 million people in 34 states that refused to set up health exchanges — it should be the straw that breaks the back of the so-called Affordable Care Act.
Or how about this: The final nail in the ObamaCare’s coffin.
It will be a happy day for doctors and patients everywhere.
Congress and the president will have to come up with something else.
ObamaCare was falsely conceived. If Washington wanted to provide a health-care safety net for the have-nots, it could’ve hired the doctors and built the clinics to deliver it.
Instead, it built another bloated self-justifying bureaucracy that makes the insurance companies richer and the doctors and patients poorer.
Here’s hoping that SCOTUS grabs this final straw.