Third, not only will millions of Americans on the individual and small group markets who like their plans be unable to keep them in 2014, but many will experience what it’s like to be unable to continue seeing the doctors they know and trust. As health insurers face pressure to keep costs down while providing the richer package of benefits that Obamacare mandates, many are limiting their networks of doctors and other health-care providers. A cancer survivor’s opinion article in the Wall Street Journal illustrated the horrible situation that Obamacare will place some Americans in: Being forced to choose between doctors that have been critical to their care or, in some cases, not having access to any of their existing health- care providers.
Finally, Obamacare’s Medicare cuts will continue to hurt senior citizens. For the 14 million people enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program, the ACA’s $200 billion in cuts over the next 10 years will accelerate in 2014 and have tangible impacts on beneficiaries. Insurers predict that seniors in Medicare Advantage plans will see higher premiums, increased cost-sharing for primary and specialist visits, and limits on the doctors they can see. Although the ACA is not solely responsible for the headwinds the Medicare Advantage program faces, it will (and should) shoulder most of the blame.
While President Obama might hope he can put all of Obamacare’s woes behind him when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, the reality is that the worst is only just beginning. Democrats in Congress and around the country will be the ones forced to deal with the collateral damage created by the president’s misguided effort to remake the American health care system.