Choice is a word that generates powerful emotions, especially in America, and most notably when it concerns the freedom to choose in extremely personal settings, such as health care. This specific issue, choice in health care, is a fitting centerpiece of the presidential campaign because Obamacare in many ways directly restricts choices. Indeed, there may be no better issue to illustrate the stark difference between theObama administration and the opposition – a dramatic disagreement about the role of government in the lives of American families. Furthermore, Obamacare most directly hurts women, an irony that receives little attention, given the great effort by the Obama campaign to paint its Republican opponents as being hostile to America’s women.
First, women typically are in charge of health care decisions for their families in America. According to the Kaiser Foundation, about 80 percent of mothers choose their children’s doctors and direct their children’s care in addition to their own. These choices inarguably will be restricted in at least four major ways under Obamacare.
Millions of families will lose employer-sponsored health insurance, according to both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and employers themselves. With that, they typically will lose their choice of doctor. Another 20 million Americans will move into Medicaid – clearly no choice of doctor there. That’s because nearly half of all doctors (and nearly 60 percent of obstetrician-gynecologists) already refuse to accept new Medicaid patients. The choice of consumer-driven health insurance with health savings accounts that covered about 21 million people in 2011 is essentially eliminated by Obamacare’s actuarial requirements and coverage mandates. Yet, those health plans are the fastest-growing choice among employees, particularly for women, considering that 56 percent of enrollees were female and just 44 percent were male in 2010, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.