Republicans Target Obama's 'Keep Your Doctors' Promise

Image: Republicans Target Obama's 'Keep Your Doctors' Promise

Wednesday, 04 Dec 2013 09:09 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Republicans have set their sights on President Barack Obama's repeated pledge that "if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor."

As the GOP targets winning the Senate in the midterm elections next year, Republicans aim to step up the pressure on the president following the failures of what House Speaker John Boehner calls the "fundamentally flawed" healthcare law, Politico reports.

The president's approval ratings have plunged in the polls as millions of people either have trouble registering on the problem-plagued Obamacare website HealthCare.gov or have lost the health insurance they prefer despite the president's disastrous promise that they would be able to keep it.

Republicans are now planning to pile on the agony with Rep. Darrel Issa, the GOP's chief investigator, hoping to prove that Obama knew he was lying when he promised that people could keep their doctors.

Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent letters this week to 15 insurance companies demanding key correspondence with Obama's administration that may show the president knew in advance people could lose access to their existing doctors under Obamacare.

The insurance companies, including giants such as Aetna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, and UnitedHealth Group, have until Dec. 13 to respond.

Republicans point out that under the president's signature healthcare reform law insurance companies are putting limits on the doctors that patients can go to in their new Obamacare coverage plans while many more are losing their coverage and, therefore, are having to find new doctors, Politico says.

The changes fly in the face of Obama's statement to the American Medical Association in 2009 that, "We will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period."

House Republicans have targeted Obama's keep-your-doctor vow as they continue to exploit the problems caused by the mess surrounding the launch of Obamacare in October, laying the groundwork for what they hope will be major victories in the elections next year.

Republican Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, who chairs the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, told Politico, "The big thing … is the doctor-patient relationship. It’s the center of our health care system, and having a good doctor-patient relationship and having a good system so that you preserve that relationship at a price you can afford is important."

In a speech at the White House on Tuesday, Obama urged Americans to continue seeking insurance through HealthCare.gov and promised to repair whatever new glitches might occur.

But Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the fourth-ranking Senate Republican, slammed Obama’s speech, saying, "The president has totally ignored the real consequences of the law that are hurting so many Americans."

Barrasso added, "He took no action to help people who will lose their coverage and their doctor, pay higher premiums and become victims of identity theft because of Obamacare."

Politico says Republican lawmakers are hoping to make people aware that the new law could mean there will not be enough doctors in the country to meet the demands imposed on the healthcare system by millions of new patients under Obamacare.

GOP Rep. Phil Roe, a doctor himself, said his Tennessee district is losing 50 primary-care residency positions. "It is basically because the law has cut reimbursements for hospitals," Roe said Tuesday. "They have to find savings somewhere."

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