Last week I read a distressing article in the Wall Street Journal. In You Also Can’t Keep Your Doctor, the author, who has been battling cancer, describes the horrendous experience of being denied appropriate insurance coverage due the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I can’t begin to imagine her despair, and my heart truly goes out to her and her loved ones.
Upon reflection, however, I’m growing increasingly uncomfortable with articles like these: not because I don’t have compassion for the suffering of the authors, but because they misrepresent what’s actually occurring. Why are we blaming the new law and not the insurance companies?
While I am far from a policy expert, I think I understand some basics here: insurance companies aren’t discontinuing plans because the ACA makes it impossible to cover services like cancer treatment: they’re doing so because they don’t want to compete in the new consumer-oriented marketplaces the new law establishes. Or they may want to avoid compliance with the broader consumer protections that it establishes. In fact, they’d rather cancel individual policies of those that really need them than provide the kind of coverage that would finally promote the overall health of our nation.
So I’m growing increasingly concerned about the consequences of what we see in the news; because of our natural compassion for the suffering of individual authors, we are missing the opportunity to analyze what’s really going on. It’s so much easier to place blame on the new law than on the system that promotes profits over individuals. I truly hope that we can take a collective step back and examine the issues more closely, so we can more fairly place the blame where it’s really due.
If you’d like to learn more about what’s really going on, check out the following articles.
A closer look at the WSJ’s newest Obamacare horror story (LA Times) addresses why the author mentioned here really lost her insurance.
American Health Care’s Good Old Days (National Journal) is a good reminder of why we need to continue to do something about health insurance in this country.