C. Michael Gibson, M.D., is an interventional cardiologist and a professor at Harvard Medical School. (He is also a talented painter.) Earlier this afternoon he tweeted his 138,000 followers this USA Today article about rising health insurance deductibles. According to the article, a growing number of middle-class insured patients are avoiding the doctors’ office because of the cost:
Physician Praveen Arla is witnessing a reversal of health care fortunes: Poor, long-uninsured patients are getting Medicaid through Obamacare and finally coming to his office for care. But middle-class workers are increasingly staying away.
“It’s flip-flopped,” says Arla, who helps his father run a family practice in Hillview, Ky. Patients with job-based plans, he says, will say: ” ‘My deductible is so high. I’m trying to come to the doctor as little as possible … What is the minimum I can get done?’ They’re really worried about cost.”
For years, Obamacare proponents having been talking as if health insurance coverage is the sine qua non of access to quality health care. Looks like there’s more to it.
The USA Today article cites health care researchers saying Obamacare isn’t culpable:
Why is this happening? Many patients and doctors blame corporate greed — a view insurers and business leaders reject. Some employers in turn blame the Affordable Care Act, saying it has forced them to pare down generous plans so they don’t have to pay a “Cadillac tax” on high-cost coverage in 2018. But health care researchers point to a convergence of trends building for years: the steep rise in deductibles even as premiums stabilize, corporate belt-tightening since the economic downturn and stagnant middle-class wages.
So these trends have been “building for years” but just so happened to erupt just after Obamacare was implemented.
What a coincidence!