New York Times: The Obamacare Rip-off

Is the Obamacare rip-off hurting consumers? The New York Times shows us that it is doing so. I’ve already noted that Obamacare forces consumers to ration themselves. It charges a lot for a Bronze plan (the cheapest legally allowed to be offered) and then charges such high deductibles that consumers refuse health care because they can’t afford it.

Think about how this benefits health insurance companies. They get to collect premiums but no longer are as likely to have to provide any services.

It seems Obamacare has also given these insurance companies more power to squeeze hospitals and doctors, so now they are in turn finding new ways to try to shake down patients.

Thus, the New York Times story tells us: “As Insurers Try to Limit Costs, Providers Hit Patients With More Separate Fees.”

Cindy Weston of the American Medical Billing Association, an industry group, said it was up to physicians to decide what to include in their principal payment and what merited an extra charge. She said they now “may be forced to charge” for new services because the Affordable Care Act “has shifted so much responsibility for payment from insurers to patients” and patients do not pay as reliably as insurers.

These new fees are worrisome to health advocates. At a time when the country is trying to hold down health care costs, payments from patients shift spending to a place where they cannot be readily tallied. Also, such fees often undercut mandates under the Affordable Care Act that certain vital services for women’s health and preventive care be provided at no cost to patients: An intrauterine device is covered, but there is an insertion fee. An annual physical is covered, but not some of the blood work that a physician has ordered.