Advocacy / AMAC Action 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

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Sign Up Today
Read more articles by Caroline Rayburn
Subscribe
Notify of
16 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
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 if I wanted to vote in “ENGLISH OR SPANISH”! I almost got arrested. I said in a very loud voice, almost histerical, that I was here to vote for the most powerful man in the free world and you want to know if I want to vote in english or spanish? If I cannot vote and understand what I am voting for in the language of this great country, which is english, then I should not be able to cast my vote and neither should anyone else!
The political machines have gotten too powerful and can select and groom any candidate they want to put in office that follows their agenda. You don’t think Obama wasn’t groomed and carefully placed in a position to do the most harm? We are not going to be able to get Washington cleaned up and start healing our great country (Obamacare, cronyism, deals under the table, the what’s in it for me attitude) until we get ALL of the “lifers” out of Washington. Put time limits on ALL offices. There’s a limit on the presidency so should there be for ALL offices. Stop giving everyone a golden parachute when they leave either. “You served your country now go back to work just like any other soldier does that serves their country”. The laws they pass that concerns the country should also apply to them, no exceptions. They were never suppose to get preferential treatment. They left their farms, law practices, school rooms, science labs, physician practices and they served making laws for this country but only for short terms and then new blood would come in and they would serve. Most of them did so with very little or no pay because it was an honor to help shape the country and do your duty. Now it has become a lifetime paycheck with whatever benefits they deem to reward themselves with and pass into law. The American people are becoming less free and more under the “boot” of big government. So while the people sit back and let things like “Obamacare” come into law “for the good of all people” we loose more and more of our freedoms and they don’t even see it. That is exactly how communism took over.

Gary Zeiher (MSgt, USAF, Ret)
6 years ago
Reply to  Martha

Martha,

You have hit the nail dead center on the head. I am so thoroughly upset with all of this “press 1 for English, press 2 for Spanish…” BS. The United States of America was founded on principals that have been shoved under the carpet. Millions of immigrants from other countries came to the US looking for a better life. Acclimating to our way of life and speaking one language, English, was what almost all of them strived for. Yet today it’s “English” or “Spanish” but you never hear “German”, “French”, “Italian”, or any other language….only Spanish. Maybe if our illustrious “leadership” in DC would stop the flow of illegals from Mexico (and now Guatemala) most of which can’t speak any English and are not about to learn then we wouldn’t be having all this BS. And your statement about voters who don’t have a clue! Obama had a lot of help getting elected both times by voters who 1) had no clue who he was but only that he was “black’, 2) a bunch of college kids who “listened” to their ultra-liberal professors and made their “decision” based on his/her liberal slant and 3) those who are on the “government dole” and want to insure the gravy train doesn’t stop. It saddens me to know our once great country means so little to so many.

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 outburst from the American people that mountains would topple! But then we have a “media” that NEVER reports any “news”, only their slant. If the American people don’t wake up and damned soon it’s going to be too late!!

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!

dick
6 years ago
Reply to  Rik

I’m afraid that you are on the right track, the stupidity of todays voters is beyond belief, how a sane person could not see what an idiot politician looks like, i.e Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Holder et. al. I hate to say it but I think God made a mistake with that group…..

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 try to keep history from repeating itself, for man’s character will always make the preventing of the repetitions impossible” Mark Twain
If you look at history it will show that all governments have declined because of over spending for whatever reason. We would not be in the situation we are in today if we had listen to the constitution that demanded just compensation, that is that any moneys leaving the treasure will be for labor or material only. Welfare and subsidies does not meet this requirement. The only way that congress will stop deficit spending is for the court to demand that they obey the constitution.
One dot we fail to connect, we need look no farther than the most learned group that is given the task of interpreting the constitution, the Supreme Court. How do you explain the five to four decision if it’s not along ideology lines?
What was the intent of our forefathers when they were writing the constitution? I think it’s was for neighbors to be neighborly and to prevent government from interfering.
Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it. Not a democracy, not a democratic republic. But “a republic, if you can keep it.”
Are we still neighborly and is the government interfering? That is, are we squabbling among ourselves and have we lost our republic? I would like to know what the difference is? In a democracy the citizens can vote to give themselves money from the treasure. Or a republic that has degraded to a point where the citizens will only vote for a Representative that will give them money from the treasure.
We are 17 trillion in debt and climbing. How did we get to this high a debt? We demand that the government provide a “safety net”. If we want to stop adding to the deficit then we have to send the “safety net” back to “we the people”. Congress has shown that they can not be stopped in sending money back to their district with the intent in buying votes. A politician’s opium is opm (other peoples money). Otherwise there will be no tax high enough to pay the interest on the debt and have enough for the “safety net” or any other government service. Will anyone volunteer to, without pay, take care of the government services? “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” Ronald Reagan
The latent effect of good intentions by governments is like cutting the fingers off Adam Smith’s invisible hand. One statement in the constitution which is seldom used is “promote the general welfare”. General welfare does not mean welfare and subsidies for a few. Putting the national, state or local government into bankruptcy is not promoting the general welfare.
“Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”” ~ Daniel Webster, US statesman, lawyer, and orator (1782 –– 1852)
Here is where our dot is forgotten. We are supposed to be a compassionate nation and we should help a family member in need. Is it greed that takes over that we have demanded the government take care of our family members with other peoples money?
The last dot we forget is that when the founders wrote the constitution they made our political system a republic and capitalism with competitive free enterprise as our economic system which provides for individual property rights. This is in direct conflict with socialism in which the state owns and controls all property. Are we loosing our republic by the consistence rules and regulation and taxes being imposed by the elected representative?

Disruptive Element
6 years ago
Reply to  Russell

“We demand that the government provide a “safety net”.

I haven’t noticed any we demands–I don ‘t see lines of people demanding–I see lobbyists, politicians and the media creating these demands which they then fulfill and to hell with the “we’s” out here who pay for it.

Ivan Berry
6 years ago
Reply to  Russell

Russell, the Declartion of Independance told us ” what;” the Constitution told us “how:” The body of the Constitution is the Law by which we were to operate. The General Welfare clause that you mentioned is in the preamble to the Law and was not meant to be a part of the Law. However, the Progressives have insinuated it into being used as such to justify all sorts of mischief, like welfare, supports for housing- like “affordable housing.” That premise was used to provide “Urban Development.” It has wormed its way into so many agencies and departments that they become essentially unable to be numbered.
We were and were meant to be a “Constitutional Republic.” This was based on a Separation of Powers doctrin that separated the central government into three branches, plus soverign States who had their own Republican forms of government. Article. IV, Section 4 states “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion…”
We may have started out right, but we ARE being invaded every day on our southern borders.
And how Republican do you think we are now? We are seemingly unable to stop crimes in our hightest office.

Bruce
6 years ago
Reply to  Russell

The dot every one seems to forget is growing regulations at all levels of government. As this monster grows so do the number of people needed to handle it. Right now, counting assistance, employees, and subsides 83% of all Americans get some type of government money. How is that for buying votes?

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 rolled out.

As to the diametrically opposed perspectives of Obamacare between the Republicans and the Democrats, this is of course nothing new. The Republicans have been correctly pointing out the many problems and issues with Obamacare all along. The Democrats, at the same time, continue to essentially state “everything is fine” with regards to Obamacare. I didn’t expect these hearings to change that dynamic in any way. The Democrats are not interested in facts. They are interested in the expansion of the federal government and with it the extension of their control into more areas of our lives. So from that perspective, Obamacare is accomplishing pretty much what the Democrats have hoped for.

So I guess this brings us to the obvious question: Given nothing new was apparently revealed by the experts with regard to Obamacare and how it is eroding both the quality and level of health care actually received by most seniors, while at the same time increasing the costs associated with health care, what is the next practical step short of removing every Democrat from Congress over the next four to six years? After all, that is what it would take to allow us to begin the process of rebuilding the health care insurance market to some vague semblance of what is was prior to Obamacare.

From your own summation you write “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.” So it is obvious that the Democrats, who see nothing fundamentally wrong with Obamacare, can NOT be expected to be part of any solution to correct the damage caused by it. Of course most of us had already come to that conclusion years ago as well.

Ivan Berry
6 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

PaulE, for once I didn’t even bother reading the article, but went straight to your synopsis of what it was all about.
Most comments do not stay even close to being on point, but your details of what went on is enough for me this time. Seems too many are intent on beating a dead horse. It won’t ever, it can’t ever get up no matter how hard or long we pound on it, so I’m about burned out. When will the people learn we can’t depend on the Administration to get it right? That was never their intention in the first place. We sure cannot depend on the Courts to make it right. All we can hope to do is get a Congress that will repeal this abomination. That’s the only solution that I can see.

PaulE
6 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Hi Ivan,

You ask “When will the people learn we can’t depend on the Administration to get it right?” Most people don’t want to acknowledge the reality of the situation. It’s too depressing for them to process. So they instead either stick their heads in the sand and hope someone else will “fix it” all for them or they avoid reality completely under the notion that “ignorance is bliss”. A large percentage of the public in this country falls into the latter group. They have no clue what is going on and have no interest in knowing either, until those changes start effecting them.

Thus some comments you see here are written as if the person just woke up from a five year nap only to discover a lot has changed. This is where we have to spend a LOT of time trying to educate people about issues that they should have been paying closer attention to all along. Then we have to convince these same people, that they have to vote intelligently, if they want any chance of changing the direction of the country before it’s completely gone.

Ivan Berry
6 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

I know, but it does get so frustrating. I’ll rest up & get back with it. Thanks.

PaulE
6 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

I agree Ivan. It is VERY frustrating to have to spend so much time doing remedial education each and every day. This is what happens when so many people in a country allow themselves to become fat, dumb and lazy intellectually and then wake up one day to the fact that such ignorance and apathy does indeed have profound consequences. We end up perilously close to joining the ranks of the failed socialist democracies of the world. Almost all of which ended up on that path to ruin by their own people already having acted in the same irresponsible manner we’re now copying here.

16
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x