FNC Medical Contributor Warns Higher Premiums, Cuts in Service with Political Health Care Reform

There are always unintended consequences. And with the negotiations taking place at Blair House between the White House and members of Congress in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 25 – that’s what appears to be occurring.

On Fox News Channel’s Feb. 25 “America Live with Megyn Kelly, medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel explained some of the myths surrounding the proposed political solutions for health care in the United States. He started with tort reform and explained the trial lawyers have their hands in how this tort reform is done.

“You know 37 states already have tort reform,” Siegel said. “That’s one of these political solutions that doesn’t make any sense – the same as today’s summit. The problem with tort isn’t even the issue with caps. It’s the issue of nuisance suits. Once a doctor has been to a lawyer’s office and has their charts combed through, they feel raided. The way they practice medicine changes. They become more defensive. We got to get boards that cut down on nuisance suits. None of that is in the legislation. And if the American public is cynical its because they know the trial lawyers association is preventing that.”

Another myth – that forcing insurance providers not to disqualify coverage for pre-existing conditions hasn’t been tried. As he has explained, in the state of New York it has sent premiums skyrocketing.

“I think it’s too much talking points,” Siegel said. “The facts show it will. New York state, in 1992 a law was passed that said pre-existing conditions have to be covered and ever since then we have a $9,000 a year premium rate in New York state – highest in the nation because we’re covering pre-existing conditions.”

And similarly, under Massachusetts’ state health care plan, which is often likened to the Senate proposals, premiums have also increased.

“In Massachusetts, we have universal health care – very much like the Senate bill,” Siegel explained. “Premiums have risen about 20 percent since then. We’re going to get higher premiums.”

The administration has floated trial balloons regarding capping insurance premiums. But history clearly shows that caps on what the markets prescribes to be a fair value leads to shortages.

“Here’s what’s worrying me Megyn,” Siegel said. “You know what’s going to happen when we get higher premiums? The president’s already forecasted it this week. He’s going to try to put caps on them – national caps. You know what insurance companies are going to do? They’re going to game the system. They’re going to say let’s cut services. Let’s cut reimbursements to doctors.”

Siegel also warned that the slashing of some entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid to rid the systems of fraud and waste won’t work because there will always be those that attempt to game the system and it will be the honest brokers that suffer from those cuts.

“This whole situation is a political solution to a medical problem,” Siegel said. “You can’t get fraud and abuse out of the system the way the government is proposing. How come the government is coming to us, with already a problem with Medicare and Medicaid and now they’re going to take on private insurers? They said this morning, many Democrats said this morning, that somehow we’re going to get the fraud and abuse out of Medicare. If you cut $500 billion out of Medicare, I guarantee you the people that will be hurt will be real doctors like me that are practicing medicine. The ones that spend their days gaming the system – they’ll just game the new system. You can’t get the fraud and abuse just with across the board cuts.”