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Doctors Dropped By Insurers As Affordable Care Act Rollout Continues

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A Congressional panel has held hearings this week on the troubles with the Affordable Care Act website that went live a month ago.

Notes given to the House Ways and Means Committee show only six people were able to sign up on the first day and 248 by the second day. has been plagued with problems since it was launched on Oct. 1.

As many as 3 million Americans have recently learned they will lose their current policies because they don't meet the standards of the new health care law.

As CBS 2's Dick Brennan reported, some are being forced to get a new doctor to remain covered.

It appears insurers are trying to cut their costs in light of the coming health care changes next year.

Doctors are getting bumped off plans and their patients are getting worried, Brennan reported.

"I just can't believe it because this is the man you rely on," heart patient Leonard Goldberg, 82, said.

"It hurts, it hurts inside and it's a terrible feeling to think that you can't get what you want," Tony Molesphini, 83, said.

"Nobody wants to die, me above all people," 79-year-old Jim Heffernan said.

The three men with heart trouble say their biggest problem is losing the doctor they've had for decades, and they fear for their future.

Dr. David Hess, a renowned Long Island cardiologist, got notice from Oxford UnitedHealthcare that he was being dropped from their group after a decade.

"For the past week, I've got frantic phone calls, about six to 10 patients per day calling up in hysteria saying that 'you've been my doctor for upwards of 20 years, what am I gonna do without you?'" he told Brennan.

This is not an isolated incident. It has been happening all around the country, Brennan reported.

"There are many thousands of doctors involved," Dr. Sam Untericht of the New York State Medical Society said.

Insurers are trying to cut doctors who may run up costs, Untericht said.

"They claim that they that this is a way of cutting costs which they have to do because they are getting a reduction in their reimbursement for the Medicare Advantage plans due to the Affordable Care Act," he told Brennan.

"I'm sure I have greater expenses because the patients that I take care of are very ill," Dr. Hess said.

War veteran Leonard Goldberg said he's not sure what he's going to do but said he'll figure it out somehow.

"Especially if people are our age, we don't want to get too excited, we don't want to get uptight. It's not as bad as going to Korea during the Korean War, but it's tough," Goldberg said.

Dr. Hess is appealing the decision.

CBS 2 reached out to UnitedHealthcare, but they did not offer a comment.

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