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The Obamacare Cuts That May Force You to Cut Ties with Your Doctor

Fox News

A growing concern about Obamacare is the access to the people and places that provide health services. Chief national correspondent, Jim Angle, has the cautionary tale.


JIM ANGLE, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Those who sign up for private insurance on the health care exchanges may have a nasty surprise. They're likely to have access to fewer doctors and hospitals so much so they may be competing for care with those on Medicaid, health care for the poor.

MERRILL MATTHEWS, INSTITUTE FOR POLICY INNOVATION: Indeed, I think this will eventually be like Medicaid. The only way they're going to really be able to control the cost in this is by simply clamping down on the amount they're willing to pay.

ROBERT LASZEWSKI, HEALTH POLICY & STRATEGY ASSOC: Insurance companies have resorted to networks that pay providers far less than they pay in their normal employer network and these networks sometimes look like Medicaid networks because they pay like Medicaid.

DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, FMR. CONG. BUDGET OFFICE DIR.: You look at something where you get a dollar by treating a private payer. You get 70 cents out of Medicare for that same treatment and you get about 55 cents out of Medicaid for that.

ANGLE: And that's Medicaid offers notoriously poor access to care.

JAMES CAPRETTA, ETHICS & PUBLIC POLICY CENTER: You know, about half of the physicians in many communities refuse to take Medicaid patients because the payment system is just too low.

ANGLE: Because Obamacare is also cutting reimbursements, many doctors are saying they won't participate.

MATTHEWS: I think the controls are going to be too heavy and because the reimbursement rates appear like they're going to be very low and I don't want that in my practice.

ANGLE: By the end of March, the administration hopes to increase the number of people on Medicaid by nine million and the number in private plans by seven million. But since Medicaid patients already have access to few doctors, expanding that population and paying less for private insurance raises the prospect of rationing as too many people chase too few doctors.

LASZEWSKI: These networks are going to be jammed with people, far more than they're treating now, and I don't doubt we're going to have problems with access to these doctors. They're just aren't going to be enough of them.

HOLTZ-EAKIN: You know, Obamacare started look like the Medicaid of the future. And in Medicaid of the present, you can have the insurance, but the doctor won't see you.

ANGLE (on-camera): Analysts emphasize that having health insurance doesn't necessarily translate into access to health care and they fear that Obamacare may provide the first but not the second.
In Washington, Jim Angle, Fox News.