November 4, 2013
The 'you can keep your doctor' lie starting to hit Medicare recipients
The firestorm over President Obama's blanket false assurances on Obamacare is only going to intensify, as more groups discover they have lost either their coverage or their doctor thanks to the health insurance changes imposed on the country without a single Republican vote. One of the biggest, yet so far almost completely ignored, changes is the looting of Medicare to pay for Obamacare. Now, it is starting to hit home. Evan Gahr of the New York Daily News recounts a story that will soon become very common among America's senior citizens:
Obamacare has a new message to seniors: Take two aspirins and find yourself a new doctor in the morning.
Just ask 84-year-old Dorothy Gaillard, a retired book binder and a patient of my father, an Upper East Side primary care physician, for more than two decades.
Gaillard could easily find a doctor near her Queens home, but she dutifully makes a 45-minute schlep to my father's office for uniquely personal care. He takes her blood pressure himself and even schedules her next appointment, tasks that most doctors shunt off to assistants.
Last Saturday, Gaillard called my father, aghast about a letter she had just received from the Medicare Advantage program of UnitedHealthcare.
Gaillard, one of close to 900,000 aged New Yorkers covered by Medicare Advantage, was informed that my father's contract was being terminated effective Jan. 1; she would need to find another doctor.
"I couldn't believe it," she recalled. "Something ain't right."
That something is Obamacare. Due to reductions in funding under the law, the Medicare Advantage programs, in which Medicare provides money for private insurers to cover seniors, have quietly started to cancel the contracts of providers to save money.
Senior citizens are the country's most potent voting bloc, but because the media ignored the impact of the cuts to Medicare embedded in Obamacare, they were not mobilized in the 2012 election. The Romney campaign did an inadequate job, but in fairness, it was a formidable task, a wonkish excursion into numbers and budgets and second- and third-order consequences. In an era where low information voters predominate, and in the face of the calm, oft-repeated reassurances of the president that "you can keep your doctor," Romney was unable to make his case.
Now, in a manner that would shock his former mentor Jeremiah Wright, "America's chickens are coming home to roost."The number of people deeply angry over being harmed by Obamacare is going to skyrocket, and they all will realize they were lied to. Coming soon: massive numbers of people in corporate group health plans dumped onto the health care exchanges because their employers cannot afford the new, much higher-cost health care mandated by Obamacare.
Everyone who voted for this monstrosity in Congress is going to face some sleepless nights ahead.