At Forbes, Scott Gottlieb, MD provides a warning for Coloradans who will to buy health coverage through the Colorado Health Benefits Exchange (“Connect for Care Colorado”):
There’s an astute article in today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal by veteran healthcare reporter Anna Mathews. It outlines the scope of health plans that will be offered on the new exchanges taking shape this fall. And why Obamacare is looking more and more like Medicaid.
Mathews notes that hospitals are giving up discounts to the new exchange-based health plans. In turn, the hospitals plan to make up these discounts through the narrow networks of providers that consumers will be able to choose from. The bet that these hospitals are making is that they can offset the discounts by getting more volume. …
[Wi]th fewer out-of-pocket costs, consumers will also have far less skin in the game. In turn, they will have less incentive to constrain their demand for services.
That constraint will instead be applied by the providers themselves, through the limitations that they place on access. Not by outright denying care, but by funneling patients into overworked networks that make it much harder to actually get appointments and schedule needed services. This is exactly how rising demand is managed under Medicaid. It’s one more reason why Obamacare coverage is likely to resemble Medicaid over time.