Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Obamacare Website Drops Section on 'How to Keep Your Doctor'

    "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" was President Obama's primary catchphrase he used to sell the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to the American people. Now Obamacare's flagship website, Healthcare.gov, no longer even addresses the issue.
    Ironically, the section in question was the first public (if indirect) admission by the Obama administration that the president's promise was less than a "guarantee." As THE WEEKLY STANDARD first reported in July 2013, the website told consumers that they "may be able to keep your current doctor," in contrast to the president's unequivocal statement: "Here is a guarantee that I've made.If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you've got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor."
    The original website contained a section entitled "Can I keep my own doctor", later revised to "How to keep your doctor." A version of the website as of last October can be seen here:

    Just before open enrollment began last year, however, this section was dropped. Now the same link takes users to a section entitled "How to pick a health insurance plan". (The internet address that contains the words "keep-your-doctor" redirects to an address ending with "plan-types".)

    The closest the website comes to mentioning the president's "keep your doctor" commitment is, "To be certain your doctor is included in your plan’s network, contact the plan or provider for the most up-to-date information."
    Earlier this year, the White House also removed the "Reality Check" from its own website where "Linda Douglass of the White House Office of Health Reform debunks the myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors."

    The Reality Check link now directs visitors to a more generic "Health Reform" page that includes no mention of the promise regarding keeping your doctor. An August 2009 blog post called "Facts are stubborn things" can still be found on the website, but is not linked from the new Health Reform page. In that post, the White House asserted, "For the record, the President has consistently said that if you like your insurance plan, your doctor, or both, you will be able to keep them."
    Open enrollment for the 2017 coverage year under the Affordable Care Act begins on November 1, 2016. New enrollees with questions keeping their doctors will face their own reality check with little in the way of answers.

Note: A version of this post first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

No comments:

Post a Comment