In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare, Americans should remember that higher taxes are not the only negative consequence of the law. Obamacare limits patient choice through expansive federal regulation of the insurance market, government interference in the decisions patients make with their doctors, and increased dependence on government health programs.
Obamacare limits patient choice either directly or indirectly in a variety of ways. Here are just 10 Obamacare provisions to be aware of.
1. “Free” Preventive Services
Obamacare requires health plans to cover all preventive services ranked A or B (recommended) by the United States Preventive Services Task Force and does not allow them to share these costs with policyholders. This means that all patients will be forced to pay for this coverage through higher premiums. This additional expense will mean that some patients miss out on the coverage they actually need. As health policy expert Scott Gottlieb explains, “Many services that get ‘Cs’ or ‘Ds’—such as screening for ovarian or testicular cancer—could get nixed from coverage entirely.”
2. “Free” Women’s Preventive Services
Obamacare creates additional preventive care coverage requirements for women, which, like other benefit mandates, means that women are prevented from choosing health plans that suit their needs and reflect their values. These provisions require Americans to pay for products such as the full range of contraceptives, including abortifacient drugs, even if they object as a matter of conscience.
3. Essential Health Benefits Package
Obamacare requires health plans to cover whatever benefits are deemed essential by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. As Heritage expert Ed Haislmaier explains, “The new federal benefit requirements represent a blatant assertion that Congress and federal bureaucrats know best how to design health insurance policies. The effects will be one-size-fits-all coverage—so that patients are not ‘confused’ by having choices—and elimination of employers’ freedom to design their own self-insured plans.” Special-interest groups will most certainly lobby for inclusion of generous benefits, and the more expansive the “essential” benefits package becomes, the more it will cost. The coverage “floor” will become the ceiling, and Americans will have fewer options.