Fewer choices of doctors under ObamaCare, study finds

Fewer choices of doctors under ObamaCare, study finds
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ObamaCare plans on average offer a choice of 34 percent fewer healthcare providers in the insurance plans' network, a new analysis finds. 


The study from the consulting firm Avalere Health says that overall figure includes an average of 42 percent fewer cancer and heart doctors to choose from. In addition, there are 24 percent fewer hospitals to choose from and 32 percent fewer primary care doctors. 

One of the main Republican criticisms of the Affordable Care Act is that it is limiting people’s choices of doctors and hospitals. 

Furthermore, the Avalere study notes that the law’s limits on out-of-pocket costs do not apply to care provided outside of the plan’s network, potentially leaving people vulnerable to high costs. 

“President Obama promised that people would pay less under the healthcare law,” Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoNo better time to modernize America's energy infrastructure EPA's Wheeler grilled by Democrats over environmental rollbacks amid COVID-19 The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former Rep. Harman says Russia is trying to exploit America; Mylan's Heather Bresch says US should make strategic reserve in medicines; Trump unveils leaders of 'Warp Speed' MORE (R-Wyo.) said in a floor speech last month. “Instead, people all across the country are getting stuck with surprise bills because of these narrow networks.”

Still, others argue that narrower networks can be beneficial because they help keep premium costs down. 

“Plans continue to test new benefit designs in the exchange market,” said Dan Mendelson, CEO at Avalere. “Given the new requirements put in place by the ACA, network design is one way plans can drive value-based care and keep premiums low.”

Separate studies also show that ObamaCare enrollees are largely happy with their plans. In a Kaiser Family Foundation survey in May, 75 percent of ObamaCare enrollees said they are satisfied with their choice of doctors and hospitals.