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Obamacare Rationing: Seniors’ Doctors Get Booted From Medicare Advantage

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 10/28/13 1:08 PM

National

Obamacare opponents warned about death panels and health care rationing under Obamacare as the president and his Democratic allies pushed the legislation through Congress. Now that the implementation of Obamacare is in full swing, some of those concerns are coming to fruition.

Leading pro-life advocates predicted Obamacare would limit doctor and specialist choices.

“In addition to having access to fewer doctors and hospitals, the best medical centers are going to be excluded from many of the exchange plans,” pro-life advocates warn. “While insurers are moving to make their plans less expensive at the cost of sacrificing access to doctors and specialists, there is the real possibility that plans that choose not to limit access will be forced to do so under the Federal Regulations governing the exchanges.”

Now, in New York state, seniors are panicked after getting notices that insurance companies are kicked their doctors out of the Medicare Advantage program because of the new laws Obamacare is putting in place.

From a report:

That leaves patients with unenviable choices: keep the same insurance plan and find another doctor, pay out of pocket or look for another plan where their physician is a member.

New York State Medical Society President Sam Unterricht is demanding a congressional probe after learning that one health carrier alone, UnitedHealthcare, is terminating contracts with up to 2,100 doctors serving 8,000 Medicare Advantage patients in the New York metro region.

The are 2.6 million elderly New Yorkers who receive Medicare, the public heath-insurance program for the elderly.

But one in three patients — nearly 900,000 — are enrolled in Advantage, Medicare HMOs run by private insurers.

Dr. Jonathan Leibowitz, who serves 30 patients under Medicare Advantage at his Brooklyn practice, said he was blindsided by UnitedHealthcare’s decision to give him the boot.

“A patient can’t see his doctor? What are they doing!” he asked.

UnitedHealthcare told Leibowitz that because of “significant changes and pressures in the health-care environment,” he’d be getting the ax on Jan. 1.

Leibowitz’s patients are furious. Alfred Gargiulio, who has cerebral palsy with a seizure disorder, has been seeing Leibowitz since 1993. “Obama had said I could keep my doctor. Now they’re doing away with my doctor. They kicked him out! After 20 years, that’s not right. We love Dr. Leibowitz,” said Gargiulio.

This is just one concern about rationing and lack of patient choices following Obamacare.

Doctor shortages, medical-school dropouts, skyrocketing premiums, no money for pre-existing conditions, trillions more than promised, forced taxpayer funding of abortion, critical health-care rationing and a bankrupt nation — those were some of the dire predictions of those who opposed Obamacare.

Now that the government-run health care system is here, many of those are coming to pass — including doctor shortages. While backers of Obamacare derided opponents’ concerns about “death panels” as misleading, fears about health care rationing are already playing out with medical centers cutting staff, including physicians.

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Under the Federal health law, state insurance commissioners are to recommend to their state exchanges the exclusion of “particular health insurance issuers … based on a pattern or practice of excessive or unjustified premium increases.” Not only will the exchanges exclude policies from competing in an exchange when government authorities do not agree with their premiums, but the exchanges will even exclude insurers whose plans outside the exchange offer consumers the ability to reduce the danger of treatment denial by paying what those government authorities consider an “excessive or unjustified” amount.

This will create a “chilling effect,” deterring insurers who hope to be able to compete within the exchanges from offering adequately funded plans even outside of them. The result will be that even outside the exchanges consumers will find it difficult to obtain health insurance that offers adequate and unrationed health care.

Documentation for this can be found www.nrlc.org/uploads/medethics/LifeatRisk112012.pdf