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President’s assurance that you can keep your own doctor goes the way of the equally misleading notion that you can keep your health insurance policy

by | Nov 21, 2013


By Dave Andrusko

Galluppoll112113To its credit, Gallup picked up on a sentence in a story in POLITICO and ran with it. Specifically, according to POLITICO, “The president didn’t say ‘Obamacare’ once during his nearly hour-long news conference last week, while he referred to the ‘Affordable Care Act’ a dozen times.”

Frank Newport, the Editor-in-Chief of Gallup, writes today (In Polling Matters) that

“It is likely that White House strategists developed the new approach — perhaps based on internal polling — under the assumption that the more formal name ‘Affordable Care Act’ would help in the current toxic environment of the negative publicity associated with the troubled rollout of the healthcare exchanges. Additionally, The White House may think that, at this juncture, it is best not to directly reinforce Obama’s association with the law.”

To test that out, Gallup tried four different ways of describing ObamaCare/Affordable Care Act. While no way of describing it secured majority support [!], “Only mentioning the Affordable Care Act yields the highest support (45%), while only mentioning Obamacare yields the lowest support (38%).” In other words merely mentioning the President’s name diminishes support. Thus avoiding “ObamaCare” in favor of the “Affordable Care Act” is (in Newport’s opinion) part of “a branding strategy.”

But that’s only part of today’s round of bad news for the President.

Everyone who followed the debate over ObamaCare knew that it was patently untrue (contrary to what the President kept promising) that “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.” That this was not true has been proven by the events of the last month.

TimeObamacare3But the second biggest myth (not counting the counter-intuitive notion that overall costs would not go up) was that you and I could keep our own doctors. (And, yes, this was this morning’s discussion point over coffee at the Andrusko household.) Here’s how the Washington Post began its account today:

“As Americans have begun shopping for health plans on the insurance exchanges, they are discovering that insurers are restricting their choice of doctors and hospitals in order to keep costs low, and that many of the plans exclude top-rated hospitals.

“The Obama administration made it a priority to keep down the cost of insurance on the exchanges, the online marketplaces that are central to the Affordable Care Act. But one way that insurers have been able to offer lower rates is by creating networks that are far smaller than what most Americans are accustomed to.

“The decisions have provoked a backlash. In one closely watched case, Seattle Children’s Hospital has filed suit against Washington’s insurance commissioner after a number of insurers kept it out of their provider networks. ‘It is unprecedented in our market to have major insurance plans exclude Seattle Children’s,’ said Sandy Melzer, senior vice president.

“The result, some argue, is a two-tiered system of health care: Many of the people who buy health plans on the exchanges have fewer hospitals and doctors to choose from than those with coverage through their employers.

“A number of the nation’s top hospitals — including the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, and children’s hospitals in Seattle, Houston and St. Louis — are cut out of most plans sold on the exchange.”

And that doesn’t even address a very grim truth for physicians:

“Many doctors are disturbed that they’ll be paid less – often a lot less – to care for the millions of patients who are projected to buy coverage through the health law’s new insurance marketplaces.”

Also when we talked the other day about President Obama’s 37% approval ratings, I neglected to mention what John Nolte did today:

“A fascinating number in Wednesday’s CBS poll is that only 7% of the American public want ObamaCare ‘kept in place.’ A full 93% either believe that changes are needed to the law (48%) or want a full repeal (43%).”

One other item—the cover of TIME magazine, dated December 2. The design is of a broken pill (“Obama/Care”) with the headline, “Broken Promise—What it means for this Presidency” followed by subhead, “Plus what it means for your Health Care.”

TIME’s Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs proceeds to wrap the President’s knuckles a good one, questioning what is the fate of his second term with this albatross (my word) around his neck.

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Categories: ObamaCare
Tags: ObamaCare