Advocacy / AMAC On Capitol Hill / Politics

Health Subcommittee Evaluates Access to Health Care Under ObamaCare

 

by – Caroline Rayburn

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee’s latest hearing focused on patients’ access to health care since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The hearing entitled, “The President’s Health Care Law Does Not Equal Health Care Access,” took place on Thursday, June 12th, and focused squarely on President Obama’s broken promise that said, “If you If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.  If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.  No one will take it away, no matter what.”

Ahead of the hearing, AMAC submitted a letter of concern to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee.  The letter included the following statement regarding access to care under ObamaCare and was entered into the Congressional Record by Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA):

AMAC is grateful for the Subcommittee’s ongoing examination of access to health care since the passage and the partial implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Too often, our members are relating experiences of diminished provider networks, increased premiums, and health care plans with paltry benefit offerings.

The Affordable Care Act was sold as a means to increase access to health care, but instead, many of our members have seen long-term relationships with their physicians severed as less and less providers are available to care for them.  For this reason, AMAC continues to emphasize the importance of a health care system centered on the doctor-patient relationship and the need to empower individuals with more choices when it comes to health care.  Additionally, AMAC believes it is equally as important to differentiate between increased coverage and the delivery of high-quality health care.

Two of the expert witnesses invited to testify before the Subcommittee reiterated many of the concerns expressed in AMAC’s letter.  Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, explained how the ACA undermines much of its goal to expand access to care for Americans.  According to Dr. Gottlieb, “These are the ways that [the President’s health care law] cheapens the health coverage in order to pay for all of its expensive mandates…  [To] pay for these benefits, the [health plans under the ACA] skimp on other things – principally the number of doctors you’ll have access to, and also, the number of costlier branded drugs that make it onto formularies.”

Narrow physician networks and restrictive drug formularies are but one harmful feature of the plans offered under the ACA.  In many cases, these factors have forced patients to leave the doctors that they have been seeing for years, begging the question posed by Representative Phil Gingrey (R-GA), “Expanded access to care at what cost?”

Testimony offered by Dr. William Harvey, Chair of the Government Affairs Committee and American College of Rheumatology, supported the points presented by Dr. Gottlieb.  Dr. Harvey articulated that the changes in provider networks as well as the costs for drugs are becoming a “growing problem” for patients.  Ultimately, these restrictions are necessary to offset the expensive costs of the mandates enacted under the ACA.  It is becoming clearer that the ACA was intentionally designed to narrow networks and raise costs in order to function, but President Obama and Democrats did not relay these details when they sold the health care law to the American people.

Even though serious issues and concerns were raised by both Republican members of Congress and witnesses, Democratic members of the Subcommittee repeatedly praised the ACA for what it has accomplished so far.  Brushing aside the valid questions and complaints regarding ACA plans raised by patients across the country, who are experiencing diminished provider networks and higher drug costs, Democrats continuously applauded ObamaCare for its expansion of care to 8 million individuals.

Overall, AMAC is pleased with the series of hearings the Health Subcommittee has conducted in the 113th Congress.  The Subcommittee has addressed a number of important topics and continues to work to find commonsense solutions to the problems that have afflicted the U.S. health care system since the passage and partial implementation of ObamaCare.  As an active advocate for our members, AMAC will continue to fight for more choice when it comes to health care for mature Americans and seniors because we recognize the value of preserving and protecting the patient-doctor relationship and want to give the free market – as opposed to government – an opportunity to drive down health care costs.

 

Click Here to Print Letter

June 12th, 2014

The Honorable Joe Pitts                                                                                  The Honorable Frank Pallone, Jr.
16th District, Pennsylvania                                                                              6th District, New Jersey
420 Cannon House Office Building                                                                237 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515                                                                                   Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Pitts and Ranking Member Pallone,

On behalf of the 1.2 million members of AMAC, the Association of Mature American Citizens, I am writing to express our thoughts regarding the Health Subcommittee’s upcoming hearing entitled, “The President’s Health Care Law Does Not Equal Health Care Access.”

AMAC is grateful for the Subcommittee’s ongoing examination of access to health care since the passage and the partial implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Too often, our members are relating experiences of diminished provider networks, increased premiums, and health care plans with paltry benefit offerings.

The Affordable Care Act was sold as a means to increase access to health care, but instead, many of our members have seen long-term relationships with their physicians severed as less and less providers are available to care for them.  For this reason, AMAC continues to emphasize the importance of a health care system centered on the doctor-patient relationship and the need to empower individuals with more choices when it comes to health care.  Additionally, AMAC believes it is equally as important to differentiate between increased coverage and the delivery of high-quality health care.

AMAC commends the Health Subcommittee for addressing the many issues currently facing the U.S. health care system.  As the fastest-growing alternative seniors advocacy organization in the country, AMAC appreciates your attention to these important matters and looks forward to engaging with the Subcommittee and to promoting commonsense solutions to these problems in the future.

Sincerely,

Dan Weber
President and Founder of AMAC

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allen martin (ProfEm)
6 years ago

Thank you Ms Rayburn,

Your missive is what a retirees’ association should have and what is so lacking in the others.
A small note: many of us are slow to respond, not because we’re tired or worse, but because we are busy: don’t get discouraged or feel unappreciated. Continue to help keep us aware.

Martha
6 years ago

I don’t think we are going to be able to change anything anymore by just voting. People are allowed to vote that have no clue as to what they are voting for or against. They vote for the candidate that promises the most handouts no matter what the cost to the country because it is not a country that they would stand up and protect. I quit going to the polls and I get all my ballots sent to my home. The last time I went to the polls to elect the President of The United States I was asked… Read more »

Gary Zeiher (MSgt, USAF, Ret)
6 years ago

Just before Obamacare was passed by a strictly Democrat majority vote Nancy Pelosi famously stated: “We have to pass Obamacare before we can see what’s in it.” Now that Obamacare is being shown to be a complete and total fiasco why is Mrs. Pelosi not being held accountable for her thoroughly idiotic statement? Also, why is it that every Democrat who voted for this abortion is not being publicly verbally attacked for what they have wrought on the American people? From what I’ve seen, heard and read all I hear is crickets chirping when there should be such a terrific… Read more »

Diane Crawford
6 years ago

So can we get this Obamacare repealed? I’m tired of being embarrassed when I go for a test ( a cat scan) $40.00 was paid by Medicare and $10.00 by my supp. My premiums are 101/2% of my income. How bad is that?
Thanks for your efforts. When we get back to private care ; we need Tort Reform. Sincerely, Diane

Rik
6 years ago

Great comments, PaulE and Russell! The only problem here, is you’re preaching to the choir. The “average” American isn’t interested in politics, otherwise, our country wouldn’t be where it is today. I’m just glad I haven’t many years left on this earth. It’s amazing to me how people can be so stupid. What else do you call it? If all people “were created equal”, we wouldn’t be talking about slaves and masters. I’m afraid mankind is doomed and we are headed back to caveman times of survival of the fittest!

Russell
6 years ago

Connecting the dots. With the economy in the tank, all the pundits, the left, the right and all the ones in between, are exalting their cause and solution to the problem. But nothing has stopped the ebb and tide of the economy. Why can’t we find a cause and a solution? I think the answer is simple! We do not connect all the dots. The conservatives and the liberals have their own set of dots that they ignore. I think that one dot that all of us have ignored is the lessons of history. “It is not worth while to… Read more »

PaulE
6 years ago

So the interim results of the Congressional hearings is that the experts have largely re-iterated what many of us already knew would be the results of Obamacare BEFORE it was ever signed into law. That the underlying rules of basic economics would preclude Obamacare from ever working as Obama and the Democrats claimed it would and that the reality would actually be higher costs and fewer alternatives as Obamacare systematically re-engineered the entire health care sector. This conclusion has been subsequently validated to date by our collective, first-hand practical experiences in having had to deal with Obamacare since it has… Read more »

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