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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Obamacare: ‘New Roadblocks At The Doctor's Office’ | Customers: A Phantom Network - It’s Not Working

Today in Washington, D.C. - Feb. 5, 2014
The Senate is NOT in session today so that each party may hold their party retreats/conferences. Senate Republicans are meeting at the Library of Congress while Senate Democrats have decided to meet at the National Parks building.

Tomorrow, the Senate will reconvene at 9:30 AM and resume consideration of S. 1845, the unemployment insurance extension bill. A cloture vote on the Reed amendment to the bill is scheduled for tomorrow at 11 AM. Also possible is a vote on the nomination of Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) to be ambassador to China.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 68-32 to adopt the conference report for H.R. 2642, Farm Bill and it was sent to the president for his signature.

Later in the day, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brought the unemployment insurance bill back to the floor and immediately filled the amendment tree, to block Republicans from offering or voting on any amendments. He then filed cloture to cut off debate on the legislation.

The House reconvened at 10 AM today and will consider the following bills today:
H.R. 2954 - To authorize Escambia County, Florida, to convey certain property that was formerly part of Santa Rosa Island National Monument and that was conveyed to Escambia County subject to restrictions on use and reconveyance.
H.R. 3964 - To address certain water-related concerns in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley, and for other purposes.

Rassmussen Reports notes that 60% Think Obamacare Fixes Unlikely Within the Next Year. "Voters continue to be pessimistic when asked if the new national health care law is likely to be fixed anytime soon, but they also remain evenly divided over the impact of the law on their vote in the upcoming elections."

As Democrats and the White House try desperately to spin yesterday’s numbers from the CBO confirming what Republicans said all along about Obamacare, that it kills jobs, the Los Angeles Times has a report on the harm Obamacare is doing to ordinary Americans that is even harder for proponents to spin.

The LA Times writes, “After overcoming website glitches and long waits to get Obamacare, some patients are now running into frustrating new roadblocks at the doctor's office. A month into the most sweeping changes to healthcare in half a century, people are having trouble finding doctors at all, getting faulty information on which ones are covered and receiving little help from insurers swamped by new business. Experts have warned for months that the logjam was inevitable. But the extent of the problems is taking by surprise many patients — and even doctors — as frustrations mount. Aliso Viejo resident Danielle Nelson said Anthem Blue Cross promised half a dozen times that her oncologists would be covered under her new policy. She was diagnosed last year with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and discovered a suspicious lump near her jaw in early January. But when she went to her oncologist's office, she promptly encountered a bright orange sign saying that Covered California plans are not accepted. ‘I'm a complete fan of the Affordable Care Act, but now I can't sleep at night,’ Nelson said. ‘I can't imagine this is how President Obama wanted it to happen.’ To hold down premiums under the healthcare law, major insurers have sharply cut the number of doctors and hospitals available to patients in the state's new health insurance market. Now those limited options are becoming clearer, and California officials say they are receiving more consumer complaints about access to medical providers.”

The Times continues, “Maria Berumen, a tax preparer in Downey, was uninsured for years because of preexisting conditions. … She jumped at the chance in early January to visit a primary-care doctor for long-running numbness in her arm and shoulder as a result of bone spurs on her spine. The doctor referred her to a specialist, and problems ensued. At least four doctors wouldn't accept her health plan — even though the state exchange website and her insurer, Health Net Inc., list them as part of her HMO network. ‘It's a phantom network,’ Berumen said. It was no surprise to her family doctor, Ragaa Iskarous. She has run into this problem repeatedly with other patients in the last month, the doctor said. ‘This is really driving us crazy.’”

And of course it’s not just California. Last week, on a Google Hangout with President Obama, Rebecca Stewart of Covington, Kentucky voiced her frustrations directly to the president. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, “The Covington mother of two in an online chat on Jan. 31 asked President Barack Obama how he would fix the conflicting information she’s received about her health care. She told the president she won’t be able to keep her health care plan but wants to keep the specialist at Cincinnati Children’s hospital that treats her 10-year-old son. ‘I’m probably not the only one who has had really a panicked experience lately trying to figure out how my 10-year-old son can continue with his specialists,’ Stewart said. ‘I know I can’t keep my plan, which I liked, but as I’m trying to decide what to do going forward, I’ve spent weeks, with days on the phone getting confidently delivered wrong answers, conflicting information, it’s becoming quite obvious to me a lot of agencies, almost everyone I talk to, is having a lot of trouble figuring out the new rules.’”

Nashville’s WSMV-TV reported recently on a family in Franklin, Tennessee. “It's been less a month since the Affordable Care Act started providing health coverage for people who bought insurance through the exchange, and now some people who are going to the doctor for the first time are finding some complications. ‘We have health insurance that is worthless,’ said customer Shawnna Simpson. Simpson found out last week the new insurance for which she is paying $600 a month was a bad choice for her family. Her 15-year-old daughter was hurt in a cheerleading accident, so Simpson called her family doctor only to learn they don't take her new health plan: Blue Cross Network E. Ever since, she's been on the phone with the healthcare exchange, looking for a family doctor in Williamson County that accepts her plan, but finding none. ‘We can't use it in the county where we live,’ she said. . . . Simpson's problem is not isolated, as many people who are just now using their insurance are finding out. Last year, Channel 4 News interviewed David Pearce, who was excited about enrolling in the healthcare exchange. Then, he showed up for his doctor's appointment last week. ‘Handed them my card, and the girl had this deer in the headlights look and said, “I'll be right back,”’ Pierce said. It turns out his doctor in Murfreesboro doesn't accept Blue Cross Network E either. Simpson says the new healthcare law is not working for her family and she says other families may be in the same situation. ‘Obamacare is not working. A lot of people that have the same issues we have and don't know it yet, until they try to use it,’ she said.”

A report from KING-TV in Seattle noted, “Administrators at Seattle Children's today said they predicted this would happen and it's even worse than they expected. Kids being denied specialty treatment at the hospital by insurance providers on the Washington Health Benefits exchange. Children's filed requests on behalf of 125 of their patients. Of those they said they got only 20 responses, eight of which were denials.”

Meanwhile, the reality of the CBO’s analysis of Obamacare as hurting jobs is ever more apparent. The Wall Street Journal editors write today, “There are 7.8 million Americans working part-time who want full-time work, including a fry cook whose restaurant cut his hours to avoid Affordable Care Act mandates and confronted President Obama in an online Google Q&A last week: ‘We can't survive. It's not a living.’ Mr. Obama changed the subject to raising the minimum wage. But he can't dodge reality forever as the evidence piles up that ObamaCare is harming the labor market. On Tuesday no less than the Congressional Budget Office reported that the health law is causing Americans to work less or not at all, in a remarkable intellectual turnabout for the budget shop that Democrats cited repeatedly when selling ObamaCare. . . . CBO's job-loss prediction is all the more remarkable because it doesn't include the impact of ObamaCare's employer mandate, which requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to offer insurance or pay a $2,000 penalty for each worker beyond 30 employees. CBO more or less punts on the issue because the White House delayed the mandate for a year and the changes would be hard to model. But this means CBO is probably still underestimating job losses because common sense says that labor mandates raise hiring costs and induce businesses to hire less, or pay lower wages, or slash hours, or all three.”

Jamie Dupree of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution adds, “At a hearing of the House Budget Committee, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf stood by the report's findings on the health law, telling lawmakers that the law will reduce the size of the labor force over the next ten years. ‘We think that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the total number of hours worked in the economy by between 1.5 and 2 percent,’ Elmendorf said, adding that's equal to over two million full time workers leaving the labor force. ‘Who are these workers?’ asked Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Elmendorf explained these are mainly low income workers, who find that as they make more money, they get less in subsidies to buy that health insurance from the federal government - and that makes it less appealing to keep making more money. ‘By providing heavily subsidized health insurance to people with very low income, and then withdrawing those subsidies as income rises, the Act creates a disincentive for people to work,’ said Elmendorf. . . . ‘As a result, that lower workforce participation rate - that lower labor supply - lowers economic growth,’ said Rep. Ryan. ‘Yes. That's right, Mr. Chairman,’ Elmendorf replied.”

The WSJ editors summed up this week’s news well: “All of this is one more contradiction of the arguments that were used to sell ObamaCare. The law would reduce health-care costs and shrink the deficit, you could keep your health plan and your doctor, and businesses could hire more workers and be more competitive. All of this is turning out to be false, and now we learn that the law is a job destroyer that is removing rungs from the ladder of upward economic mobility.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters yesterday, “The CBO report is certainly not pretty, if you're interested in creating jobs in America. As we all know, they estimate up to two million fewer jobs will be created as a result of ObamaCare. Honestly, it's not a surprising report. All of the anecdotes you hear all across the country are that premiums are going up and jobs are being lost. And the tragedy of it all, in addition to the loss of jobs, is you've got once again an estimate from CBO that when all is said and done, if it all kicks in, you've still got 30-million uninsured. I wonder what the cost/benefit ratio is of all of this disruption, both to the providers of health care and the consumers of health care, when at the end of the day, the best you'd be able to estimate is we've reduced the number of unemployed from 45 million down to 30 million, at what cost?”

Tags: CBO, Obamacare, lost jobs, healthcare roadblocks, phantom network, Not working To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 12:57 PM - Post Link


Anonymous Jeffrey Locke said...

Having insurance does not mean you have a doctor....


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