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February 19 2016

ObamaCare Still Fails to Lower ER Visits

Patrice J. Lee

When ObamaCare was being considered early in his administration, President Obama and his allies touted the Affordable Care Act as the solution to spiking ER visits by the uninsured. Years later, ObamaCare still fails to live up to this promise.

Uninsured Americans continue to use the ER as their primary healthcare provider, according to a new government report. ObamaCare doesn't provide enough incentive for them to buy into it.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) crunched data on emergency usage from 2013 to 2014, the year that ObamaCare went into effect, and found that despite 7.9 million people gaining coverage, ER usage changed very little. The percentage of the uninsured using the ER dipped less than two percentage points from 18.5 to 16.6 overall and about 2.4 percentage points for those with Medicaid. The biggest change was among Medicaid patients who went more than once.

According to the report, Medicaid patients may visit the ER more often because they tend to have more serious medical issues than others. Generally, people visit the ER because of the seriousness of their complaints or because their doctor’s office was closed.

So without without ObamaCare, the ER still remains to the choice healthcare avenue for many Americans, which suggests that our tax dollars could've been better spent helping Americans  find the healthcare providers that they actually want rather than an ObamaCare insurance card.

U.S. News reports:

Even having access to care remains a challenge for some. Among those who went to the ER at least once in 2014, 7 percent reported they went because they didn't have another place to go, because the ER was the closest provider or because they generally get most of their medical care there.

Uninsured adults were more than twice as likely to lack access to other providers as were people covered by private insurance and adults with Medicaid. This was also true prior to the passage of the ACA, and was used to bolster the theory that increasing the amount of people covered by health insurance would lead to a decrease in ER visits.

Overall, the lack of significant changes may be in part attributable to patients still getting used to how health insurance works, as many are receiving coverage for the first time. Yet if trends continue, it could point to even more factors other than affordability that cause people to delay care.  

Other surveys from ER doctors found that visits spiked over the past few years. This study supports joins growing evidence that Obamacare fails to be the solution for access to quality healthcare in America.

Furthermore, requiring all Americans to get health insurance or pay a fine, making it illegal for insurance companies to refuse coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and masking the real costs of ObamaCare by offering taxpayer subsidies to pay for monthly premiums, are still not enough to make ObamaCare attractive for Americans.

 

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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