Shortly after Obamacare passed, we began getting calls in then-Congressman Ron Paul's office (health care was one of the issues I handled for Dr. Paul) from panicked constituents whose doctors had said they were considering withdrawing from the medical practice because of Obamacare. In the four years since Obamacare has passed, and more doctors have found out what is in it, an increasing number of medical professionals are either leaving medical practice or at least not accepting patients form the Obamacare exchanges. Even NPR, not exactly an outlet known for hostility to big government has noticed:
On a recent afternoon at his office in Hartford, Conn., Dr. Doug Gerard examines a patient complaining of joint pain. Gerard, an internist, checks her out, asks her a few questions about her symptoms and then orders a few tests before sending her on her way.
For a typical quick visit like this, Gerard could get reimbursed $100 or more from a private insurer. For the same visit, Medicare pays less — about $80. And now, with the new private plans under the Affordable Care Act, Gerard says he would get something in between, but closer to the lower Medicare rates.
That's not something he's willing to accept.
"I cannot accept a plan potentially commercial-type reimbursement rates were now going to be reimbursed at Medicare rates,” Gerard says. “You have to maintain a certain mix in private practice between the low reimbursers and the high reimbursers to be able to keep the lights on."
Three insurers offered plans on Connecticut’s ACA marketplace in 2014, and Gerard is only accepting one. He won't say which, but he will say it pays the highest rate to doctors.
"I don't think most physicians know what they're being reimbursed. Only when they start seeing some of those rates come through will they realize how low the rates are they agreed to."
Gerard's decision to reject two plans is something officials in Connecticut are concerned about. If reimbursement rates to doctors stay low in Obamacare plans, more doctors could reject those plans. And that could mean that people will get access to insurance, but they may not get access to a lot of doctors.
Campaign for Liberty will continue to support efforts to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a true free-market health care system.