Hurry Up and Wait: Affordable Care Act’s Impact on Medical Appointments

Posted on September 17, 2013 by Kathy Hoekstra

California Test for the ACA Predicts Failing Grade for Doctor Availability and Wait Times

The LA Times reports that the new federal health law may actually do more of a disservice to patients in terms of long wait times a the doctor’s office – that is IF a doctor even gets to remain on insurers’ rosters:

“To hold down premiums, major insurers in California have sharply limited the number of doctors and hospitals available to patients in the state’s new health insurance market opening Oct. 1.”

One glaring example the story gives is Los Angeles Count’s Health Net service. On the state exchange, customers would get 2,316 primary care doctors and specialist.

That’s less than one-third the number of doctors Health Net currently offers to workers who are covered by their employers.  

Even Blue Shield California is cited as saying it will restrict its exchange customers to half of it’s current physician network. 

While the state says it will monitor the patient-doctor demand and supply, the California example is a grim reminder that the Affordable Care Act is only doubling down on a health care cost problem by further removing patient choice from the equation. 

To see how putting patients in charge is one portion of a real solution to the nation’s health care problems, click here

The LA Times also provided an interesting Health Care Quiz. Test your knowledge here.