LA Times: Doctor Shortages, Buyer's Remorse Plague California Obamacare

LA Times: Doctor Shortages, Buyer's Remorse Plague California Obamacare

California’s narrow Obamacare networks have many Obamacare customers experiencing buyer’s remorse over health care plans that are turning out to include far fewer doctors than they were led to believe, reports the Los Angeles Times.

“Where was the state in protecting people from these false promises?” California Obamacare customer Heidi Shurtleff, 53, told the Times. “I’m not getting what I paid for.”

President Barack Obama infamously promised Americans, “If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor.” 

But so-called “narrow networks” are a key component of Obamacare designed to limit doctor choice in an effort to drive down costs. A Times analysis found that insurers in California, which has the nation’s largest number of Obamacare customers, have no intention of expanding the number of doctors available to plan holders.

“The state’s largest health insurers are sticking with their often-criticized narrow networks of doctors, and in some cases they are cutting the number of physicians even more, according to a Times analysis of company date,” the Times reported on Sunday.

Mary Edwards, 63, found out the hard way that “several physicians listed on her plan didn’t accept the insurance or weren’t taking new patients.” 

“This game of who’s in and who’s out is tiresome,” said Edwards.

Edwards is not alone. Hundreds of customers have already issued complaints, and UCSF Dr. Kevin Grumbach has warned that Obamacare’s extreme narrow networks have created a “medical homelessness” crisis

As Breitbart News reported in March, Obamacare’s narrow networks are spawning buyer’s remorse nationwide.

“Obamacare’s narrow networks are going to make people furious–but they might control costs,” wrote former Washington Post health reporter Sarah Kliff. According to Bloomberg News, insurance premiums are expected to increase by as much as 16% in “eight of the nine states where insurers have submitted 2015 rates for approval.”

Still, with Democrats scrambling to fend off losses in the upcoming midterm elections, Obama and some Democrats continue to tout the highly unpopular law. Recently, the Obama administration admitted that its much-touted eight million enrollment figure was inflated and actually stands at 7.3 million. Moreover, many of those included are merely individuals who were among the 5 million who saw their insurance plans canceled when Obama broke his now-infamous promise that “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

What role Obama’s unpopular health care overhaul will have in the upcoming midterm elections remains to be seen. According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, just 41% of Americans support Obama’s signature legislative achievement.

Voters head to the polls in 37 days. One Obamacare-related proposition awaits on the ballot.


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