As the New York Times explains, one way plans can save money is to “make it harder for patients to get care — so that they get less of it. Narrow network plans may do this if they don’t cover enough nearby providers, with the ones they do cover too busy to take new patients in a timely fashion.”
“Clearly this would be especially problematic if appointments with one’s preferred primary-care doctor are hard to obtain,” the story noted.
Which is precisely what’s been going on in ObamaCare. A study published in Health Affairs last year found that just 30% of the “secret shoppers” it enlisted for the study were able to get an appointment with their first pick of doctor through an ObamaCare plan in California.
Despite these narrow networks, insurers still have had to impose substantial deductibles and jack up premiums by double digits, and are still losing money on ObamaCare. Having an ObamaCare card, in other words, is no guarantee that health care will be affordable or high quality.
Would Billy Kimmel have fared as well had his parents been stuck in one of these ObamaCare HMO plans? Maybe, maybe not.
The point is that, even if your goal is to guarantee coverage to everyone with pre-existing conditions, which was Kimmel’s plea, ObamaCare’s approach is clearly not working. It is destabilizing individual insurance markets across the country and providing mediocre insurance benefits to the very people who need it most, and insurance companies continue to bail on the program leaving consumers with little or no choice of plans. It is unsustainable in its current form. There aren’t even many Democrats who would disagree with that.
Republicans think they have a better way to achieve these protections without all of ObamaCare’s adverse side effects; their plan should be judged on those merits, not on emotional appeals from rich celebrities.