The Edmond Sun

Nation & World

January 3, 2014

Lankford says health law breaks doctor-patient trust

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The trust relationship patients have with their longtime physicians has been broken by the Affordable Care Act, Congressman James Lankford said.

“That doctor knows you — they know your file — they know how you talk to each other,” said Lankford, R-Edmond. “If you lose someone and you know how to talk to them, you’ve lost a lot of medical gain for your family.”

Americans do not like being told what to do whether they are liberal or conservative, he said. And the congressman said Americans will hear more of these types of problems as they learn more in 2014 about their new health care options under the Affordable Care Act.

With his presidential legacy on the line, Obama vowed to improve the federal exchanges to protect his landmark piece of legislation. Improvements to the federal health care exchange in December brought 1.1 million more health insurance consumers to the market place, according to the White House.

“More than half a million Americans have enrolled through healthcare.gov in the first three weeks of December alone,” Obama said.

This did not include expanding Medicaid coverage and ACA enrollments due to state-based exchanges. Enrollment surged in December with more than 2.1 million people enrolled in a private health insurance plan through the federal and state-based exchange marketplaces.

Health care insurance kicked-in for these enrollees Jan. 1. The White House still calls for a projected 7.1 million enrollees by March 31.

Obama’s goal had been to enroll 3.3 million consumers by Dec. 31. The federal website serves 36 states. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin resisted the creation of a state exchange and Medicaid expansion for Oklahomans.

By November, new eligibility and renewals for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program grew by 3.9 million, in the U.S. Additionally, young adults are able to stay on their family’s plan until they turn 26.

Lankford described a likely scenario for a cancer patient covered by the ACA. A patient covered for cancer treatment at a large area hospital will not necessarily be denied coverage there by an insurance company, Lankford said.

If an Oklahoman living with an advanced stage of cancer wanted to go to a comprehensive cancer treatment center such as M.D. Anderson in Houston, it is likely their insurance company would deny their treatment there and send them to a local hospital, Lankford said.

President Obama’s administration will blame insurance companies for being the problem, Lankford said. The next day, the administration will have a meeting with top insurance executives from the largest carriers and will promise them tax dollars to subsidize them, he added.

“Obamacare has built into it a huge bailout from insurance companies,” Lankford said. Obama is choosing winners and losers who are friendly with the administration, he said.

“This administration has gone out of its way to subsidize banks, to subsidize car companies and now also subsidizing insurance companies with federal tax dollars,” he said.

A physician whose practice does not honor federal exchange markets told Lankford last week that all of his patients on federal exchange programs are no longer his patients. The insurance companies are paying physicians a lower rate than what Medicaid pays, which has historically been the lowest rate paid by anyone, Lankford said.

Patients will have to pay cash if they choose to continue as the physician’s patient. The insurance companies pick and choose the physician to fulfill the ACA plan, Lankford said.

“That’s what’s happening now in January. People are now finding out their deductible is higher, the rates they have to pay each month is higher. Many people are finding out the doctor they went to for years is no longer on the plan they have,” Lankford said.

So insurance companies will choose younger doctors with newer practices, Lankford said.

Some insurance coverage has been made illegal to purchase because it does not meet all of the requirements of the ACA. More than 6 million people nationwide have received notification that their private insurance has been canceled, Lankford said

“They had to go then to find insurance through the federal exchange or state exchanges,” he said.

Whether or not they have lost their insurance or are merely being redirected to a plan that is compatible with ACA standards will be answered on a person-to-person basis, Lankford said.

Some of those individuals are finding they’ll have to pay significantly more with higher deductibles, he said. Other people have learned they will pay less.

“So they might have had a $500 deductible and they paid $300 a month. Now they’re finding out they’re going to pay $450 a month and their deductible is $2,000 or more.

“And, they have (less) access to doctors.”

More than 70 percent of Americans covered under the ACA will receive subsidies to offset their coverage, according to a report by Families USA, a Washington, D.C., think tank supporting the ACA.

Open enrollment began in October for the federal exchanges.

Obama apologized for the early roll-out failures, saying computer glitches had caused the system to fail.

Meanwhile the Affordable Care Act has helped keep health care costs growing at their slowest rate in 50 years, Obama said.

Text Only
Nation & World
  • weather 1.jpg July could be coolest in weather record books

    With chances for soaking rains and unseasonably cool temperatures becoming frequent, a weather expert is increasingly convinced Oklahoma will end up with a historic July.
    At mid-afternoon Tuesday, the National Weather Service forecast for Edmond called for the high Wednesday to be near 73 with a 90 percent chance of heavy rain, followed by the high Thursday near 78 with a 30 percent chance of showers.
    Highs are expected to remain in the 80s into Monday.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • jc_ITS map.jpg City to improve traffic flow

    The Edmond City Council this week approved a services agreement with Electronic Technology, Inc. For the  installation of Intelligent Transportation Systems’ video wall system at a cost of $314,620. The vote was 3-0.
    ITS is a fiber optic, wireless or hybrid communication system of monitoring road events and equipment in the field, data archiving and predicting traffic volume, said Kent Kacir, an engineer with Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • jc_Earp Marlin 2 - photo credit Noel Winters.jpg Shootout of a sale

    An original article of the Wild West will be made available at auction Thursday. The rifle of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp will be part of the J. Levine Auction & Appraisal’s Summer Quarterly Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.
    Earp was an Arizona deputy sheriff and deputy town marshal in Tombstone, Ariz. He is legendary for playing a key role in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He died in 1929 at age 80.
    Wyatt Earp collector Barry Tapp of Edmond will be selling his 1895 Wyatt Earp Marlin rifle at the auction. The rifle has an estimated value between $50,000 and $75,000. It includes authentication documentation from Tombstone Heritage Museum, according to the auction house

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • sales tax holiday.jpg Oklahoma sales tax takes a holiday

    Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 1 and ending at midnight Aug. 3, Oklahomans will be able to participate in a sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain clothing and shoes free of sales tax.
    Yes, retailers may not charge tax, including state and local sales taxes on items that are tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday weekend. The sales of clothing and shoes priced at less than $100 are exempted from sales taxes.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blackmon.jpg Local cops arrest NFL player on marijuana complaint

    The Edmond Police Department has released the incident report related to the arrest of ex-Oklahoma State star and current NFL player Justin Blackmon.
    Blackmon, 24, a product of Plainview High School in Ardmore, is a 6-1, 210-pound wide receiver in his second year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. At Oklahoma State University, he was a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the country’s best collegiate wide receiver.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • A Q&A on ‘Obamacare’ Court Rulings

    On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the legality of tax subsidies being provided to people who bought “Obamacare” health insurance policies in Oklahoma and 35 other states.
    Here’s a look at the rulings’ potential impact in Oklahoma.

    Q: I’m confused. What did the courts rule today?
    A: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Washington, D.C., decided that the government can’t provide tax subsidies for Affordable Care Act plans purchased in 36 states where the federal government is operating the health insurance exchange. Oklahoma is one of the 36 states. A few hours later, the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Richmond, Va., issued a conflicting ruling that upheld the legality of the health-care law’s tax subsidies.

    July 22, 2014

  • June healthy month for Oklahoma jobs

    Nearly 10,000 new jobs in Oklahoma were created in June, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
    Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday the state experienced one of the largest increases in employment in the nation in June. More than 9,600 additional people joined the state’s workforce in June.
    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, its lowest ratio in six years. June’s rate was down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May and April, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

    July 22, 2014

  • Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it — former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns.
    “It’s always good when you go hire staff and you look at just getting the right people within your program. And, a lot of times, guys know a lot of Xs and Os, but it’s all just about developing a player,” said Strong, Tuesday during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days. “Joe and I, we’ve coached together at two different places. But just with him being within his conference and knowing the conference, he’s been a great asset.”

    July 22, 2014

  • UCO campus 3.jpg University of Central Oklahoma recognized as having friendly work environment

    The Chronicle of Higher Education named the University of Central Oklahoma as one of the “2014 Great Colleges to Work For.” Central is the only higher education institution in the state recognized on the list and one of only a handful of institutions in the nation given the distinction of being named to the Honor Roll for being cited most often among all the recognition categories.          
    Central joins Duke, Baylor and Notre Dame on the list of the 10 universities named to the large institution honor roll.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sparring justices find little disagreement at the opera

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed a different view of U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday when she described about her passion for opera, one she shares with Justice Antonin Scalia.

    July 21, 2014