Cancer is already enough of a killer without an assist from the government. Yet, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, some of the nation’s premier cancer hospitals are off-limits to patients.
From the New York Post:
An Associated Press survey found examples coast to coast. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of eight insurers in Washington State’s insurance exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center says it’s in less than half of the plans in the Houston area. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is included by two of nine insurers in New York City and has out-of-network agreements with two more.
In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP’s survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their state exchange.
Not too long ago, insurance companies would have been vying to offer access to renowned cancer centers, said Dan Mendelson, CEO of the market research firm Avalere Health. Now the focus is on costs.
“This is a marked deterioration of access to the premier cancer centers for people who are signing up for these plans,” Mendelson said.
Those on the left who stubbornly defend Obamacare will tell you it’s not the President’s fault, and neither does the blame fall on his signature legislative “achievement.” It’s greed, they will submit.
The argument is not totally without merit. As the Post acknowledges:
Before President Barack Obama’s health care law, a cancer diagnosis could make you uninsurable. Now, insurers can’t turn away people with health problems or charge them more. Lifetime dollar limits on policies, once a financial trapdoor for cancer patients, are also banned.
“Patients may have fewer choices of doctors and hospitals in some exchange plans than others … but the rules for such plans go a long way toward remedying the most severe problems that existed for decades,” said Steve Weiss, spokesman for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
That may well be, but try telling that to a cancer patient with a rare condition whose very existence depends on ongoing treatment at a cutting-edge facility. By affixing his signature to the law that bears his name, Obama assumed responsibilities that — to quote him — are far “above his pay grade.” He is playing God, albeit badly, and his enablers on the left share his culpability by seeking to downplay or dismiss outright stories of Americans who are victims of the new law.
Reforming the health care system was never going to be easy: That’s a given. But the result could have been less catastrophic. That would have required more thought and planning than he and his cronies in the Congress were obviously willing to give to a law that they had been hell-bent on passing for decades. They now own not only the law but any harmful effects that ensue from it.
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