Obamacare Lacks ‘Protection Against Treatment Denials’

The L.A. Times published a story that was probably meant solely as a bash on insurance companies, but still the report brings up several issues that Obamacare will only make worse if passed. The problem raised in the headline, “Healthcare bills lack protections against treatment denials, experts say,” isn’t the only problem the story touches upon — not that the L.A. Times dwells on them.

The headline problem is important, of course though the Times tries to phrase the problem as an evil failing of insurance companies. The fact is it is really but a common-sense inevitability. The Times reports that Obamacare will force an increase in denials of services to patients because of cost overruns.

By requiring insurers to cover everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions, healthcare reform will make it more difficult for insurers to control their costs, or “bend the cost curve,” by avoiding sick people.

That leaves insurers with the other big cost-containment tool: turning down requests to cover treatments.

The Times seems to imagine that all of this will go away if there is a public option included in the healthcare legislation. There is a woeful lack of logic to the Times’ contention, however. The government’s public option will drive down the charges that medical suppliers, doctors, and hospitals can charge by introducing artificial pricing. Additionally, government will constantly attempt to force insurers and providers cut costs. The Times doesn’t properly reveal this to its readers, but these actions forced on the healthcare industry by government will lead to precisely the situation the Times decries. To cut costs services will be rationed. In truth there is no way to stop this once Obamacare becomes de rigueur.

Another problem raised by this Times article is the ability to sue providers and insurance companies. The Times pushed the complaints of activists that want to see the ability to sue insurance providers even more than they now can. Lawsuits, of course, constitute one of the biggest reasons that healthcare in America is so much higher than that of other countries. One of the reasons for that is that healthcare in other countries is often controlled by the government and it is government that either outright bans or heavily caps the capabilities of patients that feel wronged by their health services to sue doctors, hospitals and insurance companies.

Sadly, the Times fails to note this fact in a story meant for pushing the charges from anti-insurance activists that insurance is the evil actor in this system. The Times fails to mention that no matter what happens in Obamacare initially, once government takes over our healthcare fully the ability to sue will eventually be severely hampered. After all, it’s not easy to sue the government in other areas and eventually healthcare will be no different. So, all the whining that these activists are doing about the system as it is now they will eventually find it will become far worse than the current situation that they think is so bad.

Naturally, the Times and its interviewed subjects think that the big solution is the so-called public option. But again the Times falls down on the job. The Times fails to reveal that we are already seeing cuts in services by government healthcare services from Tennessee, to Oregon, to Maine and Massachusetts not to mention the federal administered Indian services and military services.

So, the public option will be no panacea. Any federal take over of healthcare will lead to rationing and cuts in services. Not only that but costs will soar. The situation in Oregon and Massachusetts are perfect examples of this failure of government to rise to the occasion.

(Cross posted at HealthcareHorseRace.com.)

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