Mrs. Brit Hume’s horrible Obamacare dilemma

You might have missed the tweet the other day from Fox News’ Brit Hume, who was very concerned that his wife would have to leave her current primary care physician if she bought a plan on the Obamacare exchange in their state.

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Which of course begged the question of why Fox News, Brit Hume’s employer, wasn’t already providing Mrs. Hume with insurance:

brit-hume-aca-2Brit Hume then weighed in and explained that Fox News in fact was already providing his wife with health insurance, and that she was just browsing, so in fact she was in no danger of losing her doctor:

brit-hume-obamacare-3But why window shop, and then why complain about supposedly losing her doctor, if she has insurance and thus won’t be losing her doctor at all?  It all sounds like a bit of a typical Fox News feint:

brit-hume-obamacare-4But putting Mrs. Hume aside for a moment, this notion about not being able to keep your same doctor if you buy insurance on the exchanges strikes me as a bit of a red herring.  Where in America can you be guaranteed to keep your same doctor if you change insurance plans?  There’s no guarantee anywhere or with any insurance company.  If I switched from my PPO to an HMO a year ago, or five years ago, or ten years ago, I’d have lost my primary care doctor – and my specialists – and been forced to see HMO docs.  And even if you keep the same plan, your doctor can switch plans he or she takes on a whim, and insurance companies themselves can drop doctors as well.

So it’s entirely possible that Mrs. Hume can’t buy an Obamacare plan that includes her own doctor because her own doctor chose not to accept the Obamacare plan in question.  I know that’s what my primary care doctor did – he simply didn’t want to take one of the two ACA plans that I’m considering buying.  It’s his choice, not Obamacare’s.

So what exactly is Brit Hume’s point?  That the ACA isn’t more socialist and dictatorial – isn’t more a planned economy where we tell doctors that they have to see everyone and accept every plan (which would be fine with me):

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Then there was this self-proclaimed “Christian conservative”:

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Yes, how sad that people who would otherwise have died, can now get insurance, but as a trade off for, you know, not dying, might have to go to a different doctor.  I’d imagine that people who can barely afford health care are a bit more concerned about dying because they can’t afford any doctor, than which doctor they see if it means they get to live.  Their options are:

1. Not being able to afford any doctor at all, and dying.

2. Getting a subsidy helping them pay for the ACA insurance, living, and possibly not being able to go to the doctor they like in town (not to mention, they wouldn’t get to choose their doctor at all if they had no insurance).

But let’s talk a little more about those “who barely afford their care.”

That’s exactly who this program was created for.  It’s estimated that around 60% of those using the exchanges will get some kind of federal subsidy to help them pay for it.  They’d get nothing if Obamacare hadn’t been passed.  And Medicaid has been expanded under Obamacare, so more low-income people can now get insurance.  They couldn’t before.

So the last argument the right-wing should be using to knock Obamacare is that people who can barely afford insurance are somehow getting a bad rap.  Generally speaking, they’re getting the best rap of all.


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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