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Shocker: More Patients Go To ERs Under Obama-Care

From the Louisville, KY Courier-Journal:

More patients flocking to ERs under Obamacare

By Laura Ungar | June 9, 2014

It wasn’t supposed to work this way, but since the Affordable Care Act took effect in January, Norton Hospital has seen its packed emergency room become even more crowded, with about 100 more patients a month.

That 12 percent spike in the number of patients — many of whom aren’t actually facing true emergencies — is spurring the hospital to convert a waiting room into more exam rooms.

"We’re seeing patients who probably should be seen at our (immediate-care centers)," said Lewis Perkins, the hospital’s vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer. "And we’re seeing this across the system."

That’s just the opposite of what many people expected under Obamacare, particularly because one of the goals of health reform was to reduce pressure on emergency rooms by expanding Medicaid and giving poor people better access to primary care.

Instead, many hospitals in Kentucky and across the nation are seeing a surge of those newly insured Medicaid patients walking into emergency rooms.

Lest we forget, Kentucky is supposed to be one of the success stories of Obama-Care. So why did we have to have Obama-Care and expand Medicaid again? Oh, that’s right. To save the ERs.

Nationally, nearly half of ER doctors responding to a recent poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians said they’ve seen more visits since Jan. 1, and nearly nine in 10 expect those visits to rise in the next three years. Mike Rust, president of the Kentucky Hospital Association, said members statewide describe the same trend…

Richard Roberts, a 58-year-old Louisville resident who received expanded Medicaid through the ACA a couple of months ago, spent about 31/2 hours in Norton’s ER this week.. Roberts said he’s also gone to the ER for pneumonia and heat stroke, and would go again if needed…

For many who research health care, the ER crunch is no surprise.

Studies have shown that Medicaid patients were among the most frequent ER users before health reform, and becoming newly insured only increases ER use by giving an avenue to get treatment to patients who had been forgoing care because they couldn’t afford it.

A 2007 issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation said Medicaid patients made up 9 percent of the general population at the time but accounted for 15 percent of emergency visits…

So where were the people who "research health care" when it counted? When we could have stopped Obama-Care and the expansion of Medicaid.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, June 10th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Shocker: More Patients Go To ERs Under Obama-Care”

  1. canary

    It turns out the over two plus million that went on Medicaid actually was just a figure that applied and not approved.
    Back log. And there are still glitches and cancellations. Also, people getting billed more than what the web site
    said the Insurance would cost.


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