Politico: Obamacare Causing Americans to Lose Their Doctors Is a 'New Weapon' for GOP

December 5th, 2013 6:44 AM

Seung Min Kim and Jennifer Haberkorn at the Politico have apparently been living in hermetically sealed Beltway caves since early October.

In an item which appeared Tuesday evening, the pair acted as if the idea that Americans stand a great chance of losing access to their current doctors and other medical providers as a result of signing up for a health care plan through the Obamacare exchange is something brand new. Kim and Haberkorn write that Republican opponents of Obamacare are going to have to "replicate the uproar" which occurred with "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan," when the uproar has been building for weeks, based on numerous stories involving real people (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

New Obamacare weapon for GOP: Doctors


Get ready for the next line of attack from the GOP on Obamacare: good luck keeping your doctor. [1]

As other controversies surrounding the law begin to fade, [2] House Republicans are increasingly focused on President Barack Obama’s pledge that “if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor.” They’re hoping to replicate the uproar over canceled insurance plans, which has caused problems for millions of consumers nationwide and political headaches for Democrats.

... Here is the gist of the GOP contention: [3] Some insurers have limited the number of doctors or hospitals their customers can go to in their new coverage plans, and some people will have to get new coverage plans under Obamacare. While a limited inventory of doctors is typical of most insurance policies both on and off the Obamacare exchanges, it runs counter to the Obama administration’s promise that people won’t have to change doctors under the health care law.

... The argument is a twist on the insurance one — although it’s unclear at this point whether it can get as much momentum.

... “Many families are now learning that they may not just lose their plan,” (Texas Congressman Michael) Burgess said in the Nov. 23 (GOP weekly) address. “But if they like their doctor, they may lose their doctor, too. They may lose their doctor in part because there is already a shortage of primary-care physicians. Many of these plans will now be paying doctors less — so many doctors, whose waiting rooms are already full, have chosen not to participate in the new plans.” [4]

Timothy Jost, an expert on the health law and a Washington and Lee University law professor ... warned that there are likely going to be some people who cannot go to their preferred doctor.

“This again is one of those issues where it’s going to be very, very easy to find anecdotes,” he said. “The question is, do people have good access to competent providers? [5] That’s much harder to answer than whether you can find someone in your congressional district who can’t go to their primary-care provider.”


[1] — It's not a "line of attack." It's the unfortunate truth. Properly and objectively phrased, the pair would have written that "the GOP will attempt to ensure that Americans know that President Obama's guarantee that 'If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor' — like his promise that 'If you like your plan, you can keep your plan' — will very often not be true."

[2] — The "controversies surrounding the law" are fading? This is wishful thinking 101. There are new, appalling snafus seemingly everyday.

[3] — It is not a "GOP contention" that many people will lose their doctors. It is a fact. To cite just one example noted from a Wall Street Journal editorial I cited in a Sunday post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog):

Nearly half of the ObamaCare plans are tightly managed HMOs, according to a McKinsey & Co. analysis. In states like California, Missouri and New Hampshire, many networks are 40% or 45% the size of those offered for normal commercial coverage.

If the networks have fewer than half the doctors, many patients moved to the new networks won't have access to the current ones.

[4] — If Kim and Haberkorn had been interested in genuine reporting instead of creating another "when Republicans attack" piece, they would have focused almost entirely on this item, which has gained relatively little attention. Many doctors who are disgusted with Obamacare are choosing not to see Obamacare patients. If that patient happens to be on their current roster, that means that it's the doctors dropping patients — but because of Obamacare.

[5] — Once again, we see an Obamacare defender moving the goalposts. Obama's guarantee wasn't that "If you like your doctor, you might lose your doctor, but at least you'll at least be steered to a 'competent provider.'" It was: "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period."

At the Politico, the truth isn't the truth if it doesn't help leftists. It's a GOP attack weapon.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.