Friday, January 31, 2014

The local effect of ObamaCare

I had a medical scare a couple of nights ago and had to drive myself to the local emergency room. Fortunately, it turned out to be something relatively minor, but while I was there I took the opportunity to ask a nurse how ObamaCare was impacting things at the hospital. Here's what I learned.

To begin with, Anthem is the only insurance company in the state that is participating in the ObamaCare exchange -- so much for Obama's promise of increased choice and competition. Next, for some reason I don't fully understand, Anthem is only able to cover patients served by one of the two hospitals in my area. As a result, the Anthem patients who would normally go to the hospital nearest me (Hospital A) are now required to drive across town to the other hospital (Hospital B). This means that Hospital B is being flooded with new patients -- crowding and delays, on top of the inconvenience of the extra travel on icy New Hampshire roads. In response, many of the Medicare patients that would normally go to Hospital B are now driving across town to Hospital A to avoid the logjam at Hospital B. So Hospital A is now treating more Medicare patients and fewer patients with private insurance. Since the government only reimburses doctors for a fraction of each dollar spent on Medicare patients, Hospital A is not only losing money from the lost Anthem patients, it's also losing money on the extra Medicare patients it's picked up.

How's that for a government "solution"?

No comments: