Surprise, surprise – Obamacare will probably increase low severity ER visits

Gee, who could have seen this coming?

The study, published in the journal Science, compared thousands of low-income people in the Portland area who were randomly selected in a 2008 lottery to get Medicaid coverage with people who entered the lottery but remained uninsured. Those who gained coverage made 40 percent more visits to the emergency room than their uninsured counterparts during their first 18 months with insurance.

In the current Medicaid system, doctors and clinics are in critically short supply.  The Affordable Care Act basically did nothing to address this issue.  It did not incentivize participation in the Medicaid program through a better reimbursement system, nor did it cut the enormous amount of red tape that participants must suffer through.  Instead, it dumped millions into the program with no real thought as to how the program would accommodate them.

It probably only took a few tries for the people in Oregon to understand how short of medical resources the Medicaid system is.  It means literally waiting months for an initial appointment with your primary care physician, and maybe at best a 50-50 chance of getting in to see him if you are sick with a routine illness like a cold or the flu.  And if you are accustomed to using the ER, why wouldn’t you just choose to go there again?  After all, you are no longer a charity patient – you are “covered.”

The “model” program for Obamacare, which is Romneycare in Massachusetts, also studied emergency room access after the implementation of the program.  They published their results in 2011, and you’ll never guess what they discovered – “Massachusetts health reform didn’t cut ER visits.”  In fact, it slightly increased them.

You’ve also got to love the link-embedded headline from yesterday’s New York Times story – “Access to Health Care May Increase ER Visits, Study Suggests.”  When will people learn that simply being enrolled in Medicaid is NOT the same thing as “access to health care?”

And when will they learn that if you give people access to something “for free,” people will always use more of it?

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Posted by on January 3, 2014.
Filed under Health Care, Obamacare.
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  • jim_m

    obamacare was never meant to decrease the cost of delivering healthcare. On the contrary, obamacare is designed to increase the actual costs of delivering healthcare and to ration care to all but the extremely wealthy. The leftists should remember this when criticizing conservatives about income inequality, obama has done more to separate the wealthy from the rest of society than just about any president in history.

    • deltamary

      The extremely wealthy are in a position to pay for their own care and should not sign up for Obamacare, period. Think it is bad now- just wait til more loose their Employee coverage in Dec 2014. I read of a horror in Chicago. The Medical Facility tried to get approval for a procedure and was put on hold for 2 Hours- That was reported on the Drudge Report if anyone would like to read about it. I read it last night.

      • jim_m

        On the contrary, the extremely wealthy should be signing up and paying for the most expensive coverages possible. Only by including the maximum number of people can obamacare be sustained. The fact that HHS has already issued thousands of exemptions is an admission that they have no intention of making this work.

        • deltamary

          One Payor was their goal from the beginning of this fiasco.

  • 914

    DisasterCare! Corruption not prosecuted. Yet

  • Lawrence Westlake

    As shocking as corruption in Chicago.

  • Walter_Cronanty

    There’s another small problem [AP calls it a "quirk"] in Obamacare:

    “There’s another quirk in the Obama administration’s new health insurance system: It lacks a way for consumers to quickly and easily update their coverage for the birth of a baby and other common life changes.

    With regular private insurance, parents just notify the health plan. Insurers will still cover new babies, the administration says, but parents will also have to contact the government at some point later on.

    Right now the HealthCare.gov website can’t handle such updates.”
    The smartest President evah!

  • http://www.traveLightgame.com/ ljcarolyne

    Obama plus his Regime, Obamacare = dumb and dumber, down and down they go, round and round they go, oh, what a SPIN they’re in!

  • Paul Hooson

    As President, Bill Clinton repeatedly warned that any health care reforms need to prevent poor people from misusing emergency services as a primary form of medical care. The costs of this ruin any health care reforms. Unless Obamacare can steer these persons to lower cost primary health care providers as a first resort, then this system will likely fail. This is a very serious cost issue right here.

    • jim_m

      Not only does it ruin obamacare but it will bankrupt hospitals. Medicaid does not cover the full cost of ER treatment. Hospitals will lose money on every Medicaid patient walking through their doors. Medicaid is horrifically inefficient. It has huge overhead costs that make it a classic government boondoggle and it doesn’t pay for the services rendered,

      Not only does this mean that the cost to tax payers is going to skyrocket because Medicaid costs are going to jump, but the cost to healthcare providers is going to skyrocket, putting them in jeopardy of going out of business.

      But then destroying the healthcare system so healthcare can be distributed on the basis of political affiliation was the central purpose of obamacare and that is exactly where we are headed.