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The era of denial: Why are so many patients delaying care?

13:52 EST 1 Dec 2016 | Healio

With a larger number of people living longer, it is no surprise to see a similar rise in the number of patients having cataract surgery — currently around 3.3 million per year, which is expected to grow to nearly 5 million by 2030. And with one of the most historic presidential elections finally serving up the next U.S. president, many of our patients fear what lies ahead for their health care needs. At least currently, our patients are about to go through another open enrollment associated with the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, by year end. As premium refractive cataract surgeons, we have experienced high deductibles for most of our patients and our own family coverage, and these high deductibles are expected to go even higher as we enter 2017. What really happened as a result of this act was the generation of a new trend in which patients are delaying their health care in what I call the “era of denial.”We all are very familiar with the federal statute enacted by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010: It was intended to increase health insurance quality and affordability, lower the uninsured rate by expanding insurance coverage to accept all applicants through insurance exchanges, and reduce costs of health care. So far, many opponents of the ACA have pronounced it as a failure, with some of the large insurers already dropping out of the exchanges. President-elect Donald Trump has already announced that in his first 100 days in office he will attempt to have the ACA repealed.

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