Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a cancer patient, said Tuesday that he’s concerned by the fact that Obamacare covers only a few cancer centers in the U.S., a concern Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dismissed as “getting into the weeds.”
“Dr. Coburn is very good at getting into the weeds and trying to find something that he thinks makes sense, but I think we need to look at the overall context of this bill,” Reid said Tuesday during a Senate press briefing. “It really brings a lot of people in from the cold so that they have the ability to get health insurance, which they’ve never had the opportunity [to do] before.”
Reid continued, touting the White House’s recent announcement that approximately 7 million Americans have signed up for health insurance coverage under Obamacare.
But Coburn is suspicious of the White House’s most recent Affordable Care Act statistic, calling it a “numbers game.”
“You had six million who lost their insurance, how many net new people got covered? How many who lost their insurance don’t have insurance today?” Coburn asked. “And is it affordable? … The ones that lost their insurance now have [Obamacare], and we don’t know what that number is. I guarantee you three-quarters of them are paying a significantly higher cost, have a higher co-pay and a higher deductible.”
Coburn also sounded the alarm on the law’s reported failure to cover cancer centers.
“Nineteen of the cancer centers in this country, only five are covered under Obamacare,” he said in an interview with the Washington Examiner.
“You know, it’s a market, and what they’ve done is they’ve priced it where these cancer centers, a lot of them, aren’t going to participate because they don’t get paid to cover the costs,” he said.
Coburn announced earlier this year that he will retire at the end of his term.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter