Ebony: Obamacare supporter’s exchange coverage turned down 96 times

Barb Wire

A self-proclaimed Obamacare supporter who received health insurance from the New Jersey Obamacare exchange has had her coverage turned down an extraordinary 96 times, according to an op-ed in Ebony.

“As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless,” Danielle Kimberly declared Wednesday in the online magazine, which has traditionally supported the health care law. “Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one.”

It appears that Kimberly received Medicaid coverage courtesy of the Obamacare expansion to the program, which New Jersey is implementing this year. But patients on Medicaid already had a hard time getting access to physicians — and adding millions to the rolls hasn’t made it any easier.

Kimberly cites an August 2012 study in the journal Health Affairs that found a 40 percent chance of finding a doctor who accepts Medicaid in New Jersey, worse than the national average. The rate of Medicaid acceptance has continued to dwindle ever since.

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A February study from Merritt Hawkins found that in 15 major cities across the country, just 45.7 percent of doctors accepted Medicaid, down from 55.4 percent before Obamacare was passed in 2009.

On top of that, those whose coverage is accepted often have to wait for weeks or even months to see a doctor. Boston — which has been operating under an Obamacare-like health care system since 2006 — saw the highest wait times of any of the 15 cities surveyed, with an average of 45.4 days across several different specialities. It takes an average of 66 days to see a family primary care physician.

But while Kimberly bashes the reality that Obamacare is made to provide health coverage, not health care, trust her — it’s definitely not Obama’s fault.

“For those blaming President Obama for the newly insured remaining unseen by primary healthcare physicians, the government has provided monetary incentives for doctors to accept new Medicaid patients — a 30% increase in most states (and a 50% increase in New Jersey.)”

The health care law does temporarily raise Medicaid reimbursements rates to equal those under Medicare through the end of 2014 — but the program hasn’t budged acceptance rates. Medicare has its own problems with getting physicians to accept its already-low reimbursement rates — from 2009 to 2012, the number of doctors opting out of Medicare entirely tripled.

But even while Kimberly herself is suffering from Obamacare’s broken promises and failure to improve the health care system as promise, she wants it made clear that somehow, that’s not really Obama’s fault.

“Despite the government’s valiant attempts to give the nations the unemployed and underemployed adequate health care [sic],” Kimberly gushed, “many doctors are still unwilling to take on Medicaid patients.”

The author even admits that Obamacare hasn’t lived up to the president’s platitudes about providing health care for all Americans, but doesn’t blame Obama for his health care law’s failure to, you know, provide health care.

“I remain grateful for the Affordable Care Act and understand that we, the people, must continue to fight to make sure that the access it promises to provide can become tangible for all,” she wrote, acknowledging its failure while simultaneously pledging her allegiance to it. ”Though the government, under President Obama, has made tremendous strides in equalizing the divide between the healthcare ’haves’ and ‘have nots,’ we still have so far to go.”

After 96 failed attempts to find a doctor, Kimberly may be one of the few to “remain grateful” for purported health coverage that’s failing.

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