Stories

ObamaCare Rule Denies Critical Care for Addicts

July 15th, 2014 / Kristina Ribali / 1 comment

ObamaCare was supposed to offer affordable care for those who needed it: the poor, the uninsured and those left behind by the previous insurance system. We have seen several cases where that is not the reality, where in fact, government involvement has made options scarce, and far more expensive if they can get it at all. For those struggling with alcohol and substance abuse, the new law is hurting, not helping their ability to get needed care.
Illinois programs have been particularly hard hit.

From the New York Times:

The law allowed states to expand Medicaid to many more low-income people, meaning that drug addicts and alcoholics who were previously ineligible could now receive coverage for substance abuse treatment, which the law has deemed an “essential health benefit.”

But there is a hitch: Under an obscure federal rule enacted almost 50 years ago, Medicaid covers residential addiction treatment in community-based programs only if they have 16 or fewer beds. The South Suburban Council’s main treatment program has 48. So the very people who might have flowed through its doors in search of care will not be coming. And the same problem faces many other centers, which typically are larger than 16 beds, experts say.

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Florida ObamaCare Patients Struggling to Find Doctors Who Accept Their Plans

July 14th, 2014 / Kristina Ribali / 2 comments

Doctors are saying no to ObamaCare. We knew this was going to happen, and Mirada Childe of of South Florida is the latest ObamaCare enrollee who is sharing her story.

Childe says she repeatedly ran into closed doors from South Florida doctors who are listed in her plan’s provider network but refused to see patients who bought their coverage on the ACA exchange. “I just felt that I wasn’t being treated like a first-class citizen,’’ said Childe, who eventually found a doctor with the help of a Humana counselor. “Nobody, I don’t care what kind of degrees they have, should ever be treated that way.’’
Of course this doesn’t have to do with the doctor’s degrees. He’s not the bad guy here. Instead Childe should be directing her anger at the President and his fellow Democrats for creating a health care system that discourages physicians from accepting it. The incentives under ObamaCare, and government meddling have caused this two tiered health care system, and in states that expand Medicaid, it’ll only get worse. Some physicians say they’re concerned they won’t be paid for their services by either the insurer or the patient, and that insurers are not adequately informing doctors of their inclusion in exchange plan networks.

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ObamaCare Forcing Hospitals To Cut Back on Charity

May 27th, 2014 / Kristina Ribali / 1 comment

The American tradition of voluntary charity has always been the envy of the world, but now, ObamaCare has managed to put obstacles in the way of those who help the poor voluntarily – and directly. Government as a middle man is no longer the only hurdle we face when attempting to help the poor, we now have to deal with ObamaCare as another major impediment to doing good.

In order to motivate lower- and middle-income Americans to sign up for ObamaCare, hospitals across the country have decided to cut down on financial assistance. This trend is now cause for concern among the uninsured who are unable to afford coverage.

The New York Times reports:

The trend is troubling to advocates for the uninsured, who say raising fees will inevitably cause some to skip care rather than buy insurance that they consider unaffordable. Though the number of hospitals tightening access to free or discounted care appears limited so far, many say they are considering doing so, and experts predict that stricter policies will become increasingly common.

Under ACA, hospitals are no longer able to collect as much in federal aid to treat the uninsured and the poor, which is one of the factors that pushed many hospital systems to tighten access to discounted or even free assistance.

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Medicaid and the Poverty Trap

May 16th, 2014 / Kristina Ribali / 0 comments

Do I want people to have affordable coverage? Yes.

Do I want the poor and the truly needy to have access to health care? Yes.

Do I want quality outcomes for those on state run health care? Of course.

Do I want people to be trapped in poverty with little chance of increasing their quality of life? No

The first three questions I asked were the original goals of ObamaCare, correct? Affordable coverage, access to care and quality care for the poor and truly needy. We were told time and time again that ObamaCare would solve the problems in our ailing health care system. But instead of addressing the root causes of the problems, ObamaCare exacerbated them.

As ObamaCare continues to fail the majority of people it was intended to help, the apologists of big government in general, and ObamaCare specifically, are pivoting to Medicaid expansion as the panacea for all that ails the President’s signature health care reform.

As we’ve mentioned before, Medicaid isn’t the shining example of improved health outcomes and efficient government spending that those apologists try to convince us it is.

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Racking Up Debt to Pay for Health Care

April 25th, 2014 / Kristina Ribali / 0 comments

A California woman whose Blue Shield insurance plan she purchased through the state’s version of ObamaCare, Covered California, hasn’t been able to find a surgeon and a hospital covered by her plan that would carry out an operation to treat her seriously herniated disc.

While suffering excruciating lower back pain, Noam Friedlander called five hospitals and 20 surgeons but none of them could help.

The 40-year-old finally picked a hospital that was covered and resorted to the only solution available: she signed up for two credit cards to pay for the high deductible and other out of pocket costs not covered by her plan.

While President Barack Obama touts the Affordable Care Act as the solution for the uninsured, only 1.4 million of the enrollees were actually uninsured previously to their signing up. Those who dropped their previous plan, or were dropped by their insurers, were left with the option of finding a plan through ObamaCare. These consumers now have to face the many glitches that come with the changes in the health care law without the freedom to shop for a plan that fits their needs in an open market.

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Oklahoma Man Receives ObamaCare Scare Letter from HHS

April 23rd, 2014 / Kristina Ribali / 0 comments

Kini Kay of Norman, Oklahoma found a nasty surprise in his mailbox earlier this month. No, it wasn’t a heart-attack inducing notice from the IRS, at least not quite. It was a scare of a new variety: an ObamaScare letter.

A letter from the Health Insurance Marketplace, the division of government where Americans can enroll in Obamacare, was sent to Kini Kay last week. The letter listed his address and an application ID (similar to an eight digit number), and asked him to confirm his information and visit healthcare.gov.

The letter claimed that he had submitted an enrollment application for ObamaCare via Healthcare.gov but needed to finish the process. Kay says he has never visited the online health exchange.

“It says ‘Dear Kini, confirm your information. You submitted an application for health coverage’ I did not, I’ve never been anywhere near that website.”

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ObamaCare Destroys Treatment Options for Woman with Traumatic Brain Condition

April 18th, 2014 / Kristina Ribali / 0 comments

Margaret Figueroa, a 49 year old woman in New York, had her doctors and prescriptions revoked when she signed up for New York’s ObamaCare exchange. Ms. Figueroa was one of the more than 1 million New Yorkers who joined the New York State of Health Marketplace, but was shocked to find that the plan wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Margaret Figueroa suffers from Arnold Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia, a rare neurological disease. Chiari malformations are structural defects in the brain that lead to chronic, debilitating pain.

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ObamaCare Drops Widows from Alabama Insurance

April 17th, 2014 / Kristina Ribali / 0 comments

They’ve lost their husband, and now they’re losing their insurance.

More than twenty-four widows of retired employees in Madison County, Alabama lost their insurance coverage because of ObamaCare.

Widows.

The County Commissioner acknowledged that he didn’t realize just how much of an impact ObamaCare would have on the county’s insurance plan and certainly didn’t think it would yank away health coverage from the widows of former county employees. These are women who are likely living on very meager budgets. To take away their health insurance is a devastating blow.

“A lot of these people are on fixed incomes, low fixed incomes. Some of them are living on Social Security and very little else and health insurance is very important to them,” says the county commissioner.

The county was forced to change their program because new ObamaCare regulations would amount to an additional $25 million per year in costs for the county. Money, as you can imagine, the county doesn’t just have lying around.

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ObamaCare a Burden on the Working Poor

April 16th, 2014 / Kristina Ribali / 1 comment

When President Obama sold America on ObamaCare they said it would help those who didn’t otherwise have access to health insurance, those who were falling through the cracks of the system, those who needed government help most.

As we’ve addressed before, several studies have shown that the majority of those Americans now on ObamaCare previously had insurance, not the group we up-ended the entire health care system to help – the uninsured poor. Well it gets even worse for those working poor. Because of the individual mandate they’re required by law to take on an extra cost in their already slim budget.

The Los Angeles Times documented the story of one Californian who is now facing some harsh new financial realities. For the last 20 years she has gotten by without insurance, presumably paying cash for services needed prior to now.

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Doctors Fleeing Complications for Cash

April 15th, 2014 / Kristina Ribali / 1 comment

To say that dealing with an insurance company is a complicated and painful process is an understatement. And that’s just as a policy holder. If you’re a provider, like a physician, it’s much worse. That is why many doctors are eschewing the acceptance of insurance altogether and moving to an old school fee-for-service system.

As you can imagine, those in the insurance industry and the federal government are none too happy about this. If doctors choose cash, how will bureaucrats have control?

The Texas Tribune and New York Times chronicled the story of one physician in the Lone Star State opting for this cash-based medical care model.

Under the current health insurance system, physicians who treat covered individuals submit claims for the services they provide and receive reimbursements to cover their costs. Private insurance providers and government-subsidized health programs like Medicare and Medicaid each have their own rules and regulations for filing claims, including specific time frames and billing systems.

Health providers who treat poor children and people with disabilities also face heightened scrutiny from state and federal agencies responsible for rooting out possible fraud, leaving some providers on edge that they could be subject to unwarranted or costly investigations.

With this approach doctors are more able to tailor their services to the market they serve. Some limit their services to low-cost diagnoses and procedures, providing access to quality care at affordable prices and in a speedy manner. For Dr. Gustavo Villarreal, whose practice is in the city of Laredo along the Mexican border, a flat $50 fee gets you access to a walk-in visit with treatment from a real doctor without the hassle of dealing with an insurance company.

Many in the insurance industry and in Washington are afraid that this will limit the amount of doctors willing to get on board the high-hassle, low-profit ObamaCare bandwagon.

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