Re "Narrow networks," Opinion, Sept. 15
The article notes that major insurers had to "sharply limit the number of doctors and hospitals available to patients" to make healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act affordable.
This exposes a major flaw of the healthcare reform law. In Los Angeles, the expansion of coverage will be accomplished mainly by expanding Medi-Cal and creating policies that force patients into already overcrowded networks.
The law only adds to the burden already weighing down the purchasers of individual and small group policies.
It has been pointed out that Medi-Cal patients have very limited access to specialists, that emergency rooms are overcrowded and that some communities lack primary-care physicians. The healthcare law doesn't fix any of these problems. Physicians lose money seeing Medi-Cal patients, and many will not see any more of them.
The safety net is already overcrowded, and the "narrow networks" will test its limits and those of the patients within them.
Howard C. Mandel, MD
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