Increased ER Visits? Thank you, Obamacare
[P]eople are no longer going to the emergency room and they now have good health care, they’re now getting preventive care.
— President Obama, September 24, 2013
Obamacare was supposedly designed to decrease emergency hospital visits. According to a landmark study called the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment indicates “expanding health insurance to low-income households does not decrease their use of emergency rooms.” Expanding Medicaid to cover households increases their emergency-room use by 40 percent.
According the the study, Obamacare could result in half a billion dollars in additional emergency room spending per year.
One Obamacare supporter and health economist as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jonathan Gruber, said, “I would view it as part of a broader set of evidence that covering people with health insurance doesn’t save money.” He continued, “That was sometimes a misleading motivator for the Affordable Care Act. The law isn’t designed to save money. It’s designed to improve health, and that’s going to cost money.”
The Heritage Foundation and other academic literature have demonstrated that health outcomes for Medicaid patients are worse than those of privately insured individuals. The Heritage Foundation explained over a year ago:
By further expanding this broken program, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – only exacerbates the situation. Policymakers should reform Medicaid to provide consumers with greater access to private insurance in a consumer-driven market.
They noted that “Medicaid patients have consistently had poor access to care and that Medicaid fails to meet important needs.”
Given these findings in the peer-reviewed literature, it is not surprising that Medicaid patients often arrive at emergency rooms in poor, and in many cases, untreatable condition. In fact, research has shown that Medicaid and CHIP patients end up in emergency rooms even more frequently than uninsured patients.
Real solutions to healthcare reform exist, and they don’t include expanding failed programs. In fact, overly restrictive federal policies are largely to blame for driving up costs, making health insurance unaffordable for so many Americans, and reducing choice.
The Heritage Foundation demonstrates that Americans should be able to treat their health expenditures the way the treat other expenditures, “searching out the best service at the best price.”
Obamacare does the opposite, taking our country in the wrong direction entirely. Anecdotal and empirical evidence back this claim up more every day that Obamacare remains law.