Restricting Health-Care Choices Isn’t the Problem

Ezekiel Emanuel notes: “Despite the fact that so many Americans are already in selective networks, they are nervous that the Affordable Care Act … will further restrict their choice of doctors or make them pay higher out-of-network charges.”

But narrow insurance networks aren’t the problem. It’s the fact that “not all networks are of consistently high quality.”

As more people enter the A.C.A.’s new insurance exchanges, they will get to choose between a bronze plan with a narrow network and lower premiums and a platinum plan with a broader network and higher premiums. Inevitably, some insurance plans will offer narrow networks with poor-quality providers.

Ezekiel suggests a few ways to “reassure Americans that they are getting high-quality care despite choosing a narrow network.” These include: requiring networks to “meet a minimum level of adequacy,” more “transparency,” reliable quality measurements of networks and their medical staff.

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