Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn revealed on MSNBC Tuesday that his health insurance plan purchased via Obamacare doesn’t cover his oncologist.
Host Joe Scarborough wished the senator well with his health problems, as Coburn announced he is battling a recurring case of prostate cancer and retiring early.
Coburn was required to purchase health insurance via Oklahoma’s HealthCare.gov exchange due to a Republican amendment in the Affordable Care Act compelling lawmakers and staff members to participate.
“I’m doing well from a health standpoint, got great docs,” Coburn said. “Fortunately — even though my new coverage won’t cover my specialist — I’m going to have great care and I have a great prognosis.”
Coburn’s spokesman later confirmed this to Politico, saying the senator now pays for his care out of pocket.
While Coburn and his staff downplayed his own problems, the spokesman noted that other Americans may not be able to pay out of pocket for cancer specialists.
“We hope the White House will work with us to make sure Americans who can’t afford to pay out of pocket don’t lose access to life-saving care,” the Coburn spokesman said. “As Dr. Coburn’s experience shows, the American people are about to learn they’re going to lose access to not only their doctors and plans, but their specialists and treatments.”
Consumer concern about the narrow networks available via Obamacare insurance plans is growing. Obamacare’s pricier coverage is causing insurers to pay doctors less for their services. Insurers make up for the downfall by attracting more business to their chosen few physicians by giving customers only a handful of options.
Coburn released a new plan for health care reform Monday along with Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and North Carolina Republican Sen Richard Burr. The proposal would move many policy determinations to the states, deals with malpractice costs and allows refundable tax credits for private insurance markets. (RELATED: Senate Republican release alternative to Obamacare)
“For every one new person that got insurance, seven people lost their insurance coverage,” Coburn argued on MSNBC.
“I think Obamacare is designed to fail — it will fail,” he continued. “If you really wanted to improve the access to health care, in terms of a way that really gives people access, it’s not going to accomplish it. I think it’s a failure already.”
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