McCaughey v. Emanuel
Regarding Ezekiel Emanuel’s “ObamaCare’s Fourth Anniversary-Progress, With Caveats” (op-ed, March 22): Dr. Emanuel applauds the Affordable Care Act (ACA), claiming that “more than five million Americans have selected a private insurance plan on an exchange,” and falsely implying that these five million were uninsured but now have coverage. Don’t trust that claim. Selecting is one thing, paying another. Insurers report that only 80%-roughly four million-have paid a premium and are therefore covered. And only 27% of them, according to McKinsey & Co., are newly covered. The rest are part of the five million to six million whose plans were canceled because of ObamaCare.
There has been no net gain in people with private insurance, data suggest. Worse, some of the cancellations forced ill people into ObamaCare plans that don’t allow access to doctors, hospitals and medications they need, including specialized cancer hospitals and drugs for multiple sclerosis. Dr. Emanuel argues in his book “Reinventing American Health Care” that choice is overrated. Not if you have MS or cancer.
Dr. Emanuel falsely credits the ACA with reducing hospital infections. Medicare’s wise policy to stop paying hospitals to treat infections that can be prevented was launched under George W. Bush. Sadly, the ACA’s across-the-board cuts in Medicare payments to hospitals are causing nurses to be laid off. Research shows when nursing care is spread thinner, infection risk goes up.
Dr. Emanuel says the next change should be paying doctors a fixed sum per patient regardless of the care needed. This turns doctors into insurance companies. What a doctor prescribes for you comes out of your doctor’s own pocket at the end of the year, setting up a conflict with the person you need to trust. We the people have learned not to trust what advocates of ObamaCare tell us.