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Shocker: ER Visits Up Despite Romney-Care

From a feigning surprised Boston Globe:

Visits to ER rise despite health law

Study author says issue is complex

By Chelsea Conaboy
Globe Staff / June 7, 2011

Emergency room visits have been on the rise in Massachusetts since the passage of the 2006 health care law, much to the chagrin of supporters who projected that the opposite would happen as more people had insurance and were connected with primary care providers.

A new study published online shows that the issue may be a bit more nuanced.

Naturally. By the way, have you noticed that ‘nuanced’ as replaced ‘patriotism’ as the last refuge of scoundrels?

While overall emergency room visits increased about 4.1 percent between 2006 and 2008, visits for “low severity’’ problems fell slightly, by 1.8 percent, among patients who are poor or uninsured, according to the study posted last month by the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

The decline is a small step in the right direction, but it also provides a reality check, said the lead author, Dr. Peter Smulowitz, an emergency physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Smulowitz said the 2006 law has done what it was designed to do, expand health insurance, but its success has been unfairly measured by emergency room usage. The idea that the law has failed if it has not reduced those visits is “nonsensical,’’ he said.

And never mind that we were assured that billions of dollars would be saved since people only go to expensive emergency rooms because they don’t have health insurance. Or maybe we dreamt everyone telling us that?

The reasons why people go to an emergency room versus a primary care doctor are complex and subject to social conditions and people’s perceptions of the seriousness of their problem, Smulowitz explained

The finding that even for more minor issues like strep throat and sprained ankles, few people with insurance are bypassing the emergency room in favor of a primary care office should “dispel the notion that providing health insurance will suddenly make [emergency departments] obsolete,’’ he said.

So it turns out that we did dream all that, after all. And going to emergency rooms for petty ailments has nothing to do with lack of health insurance. That is good to know, at long last.

The researchers looked at billing data for about 578,000 emergency room visits to 11 hospitals during the year before the law took effect in 2006 and two years afterward.

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who helped legislators draft the law, said some people who avoided emergency rooms because they were too expensive in the earlier period may be using them more, now that they have coverage, offsetting the progress of moving some people into primary care practices.

Oh, so now that money is no object people are going to ERs because it is easier. And yet we were promised that universal coverage would drive medical costs down. It’s almost as if we have been lied to.

He said more work is needed to deter people from using the emergency room for problems that are not urgent, through charging higher copayments or developing programs that target chronic users.

In other words, they are going to start turning people away from emergency rooms. Something we used to take pride in never doing in this country. (Not counting Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett’s disgraceful program at the University Of Chicago Medical Center.)

“I think the lesson here is you don’t save as much on emergency rooms as you’d think from universal coverage,’’ he said. “It’s not clear why.’’

We can suggest one possible explanation. It was just one of the many blatant lies told to convince us to give the government more power.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 7th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Shocker: ER Visits Up Despite Romney-Care”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “Idiots……..I’m surrounded by idiots.”


  2. Liberals Demise says:

    This will never happen under Obama Care.
    As I type, in Kenya right now intern witch doctors are learning to bleed chickens
    and paint symbols on patients for a variety of cures.
    Mitt never went this far to insure that only the best care be available for the buck. (sarc)

  3. Right of the People says:

    Hmmmmmm, no mention of how many of the “patients” going to the ER are, gasp, illegals. Or did Mitt cover them too?

  4. eaglewingz08 says:

    Could a possible reason for the uptick in ER visits be that MA doctors are not taking new patients, and thus the newly insured do not have available doctors to treat them? Thus they go to ERs rather than primary care physicians?

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