American Elephants

Those Unexpected Consequences Keep Turning Up and Spoiling Things! by The Elephant's Child
May 19, 2011, 8:40 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care | Tags: , ,

Emergency rooms are expensive. One of the big promises to be found in ObamaCare is that “once everyone has insurance, emergency rooms will no longer be overcrowded, and we will save money on health care.’  Hospital emergency rooms get overcrowded, according to the theory, because people without health insurance have no place else to go.

A new survey from the American College of Emergency Physicians says the real problem isn’t caused by people who don’t have insurance — it’s caused by people who do, but who cannot find a doctor who will treat them.

Ninety-seven percent of ER doctors who responded to the survey said they treat patients daily who have Medicaid (the federal-state program for low income people) but cannot find a doctor who will accept their insurance.  This confirms the experience of Massachusetts, where visits to emergency rooms increased in spite of health care reform, and medical insurance does not guarantee access to medical care.

There is already a national shortage of around 45,000 primary care doctors, which is expected to increase to over 150,000. Medical schools and teaching hospitals are not prepared to handle increasingly big numbers potential doctors. Many physicians are expected to retire early when ObamaCare takes effect, and students are looking to other careers instead. Medicine is no longer so attractive.

Massachusetts example believed that by expanding insurance coverage they would reduce the number of emergency room visits.  Instead visits rose 9 percent between 2004 and 2008.  John Goodman, of the National Center for Policy Analysis and a leading health care analyst, estimated that due to the law’s coverage expansion we can expect somewhere between 848,000 to 900,000 additional emergency room visits each year, and cost more than a trillion dollars over the next decade.

For that we’ll get longer wait times for appointments, more crowded emergency rooms — and no guarantee of access to care.

%d bloggers like this: