People Heading To The ER In Droves Under Obamacare

Who woulda thunk it?

(Courier Journal) 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.

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.

As Ed Morrissey points out, this isn’t the first report like this, but it does “show that the increase in emergency-room usage is not just a one-time spike.” He highlights a video report from Bloomberg from a few weeks ago. He also notes

The issue isn’t merely a burst of enthusiasm from newly-covered users, although that’s part of the problem. New coverage has created more demand, as was easily predicted, but did nothing to address supply.

And a doctor hits the nail on the head with the perfect description

“It’s a perfect storm here,” said Dr. Ryan Stanton of Lexington, president of the Kentucky chapter of the ER physician group.”We’ve given people an ATM card in a town with no ATMs.”

It may or may not be true that Ocare incentivizes users to head to the ER for every issue, but it surely provides no means to brake the issue. A little story: back when I was with AT&T, they switched all management in the wireless division (I’m not sure if this happened in the wired department at the time) to a Health Savings Account. One of things HSAs do is make people think about the cost of their own care. Per the Carolina’s top HR rep, those thoughts of personal cost causes an immediate decrease in the use of ERs for minor issues, which was a big driver in reducing overall costs. The regular plans saw the company paying $8-12K per year per employee. HSAs dropped that to $6-8k per year. Certainly, employees would pay more out of pocket yearly if they hit their deductibles. I would have spent about $450 more per year if I made it to my $1,100 deductible. Yet, I never did hit that level, and saved money every year but one (I came very close to breaking my elbow. Long and stupid story that did not include the words “hey, y’all, watch this). Users no longer immediately jumped to the ER, and instead went to the doctor, an emergency clinic, or simply the drug store.

If Ocare users think it’s all “free”, they will use it willy nilly without thought of cost. If only people had warned against this before Ocare was passed.

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9 Responses to “People Heading To The ER In Droves Under Obamacare”

  1. Trish Mac says:

    Yup, we knew people would be forcibly driven to ERs, despite the claim that this stupid healthcare law was to have eliminated the need for ER trips.

    Makes me sick, perhaps I ought to go to my local ER…

  2. Better_Be_Gumballs says:

    Trish, you and everyone else would be there as well. Might have to wait in line for a bit. You know, with all the other “sick” people.

    Everyone who was clearly thinking knew this would come. Same with the open borders and the increase in illegals flooding in.

    Love how we dont take the illegals back across the border.. but just to another state. yeah, that fixes it.

  3. david7134 says:

    I have a liberal friend that is from Hollywood. Like all of the movie industry, she does not get paid well so is frequently on the government dime. She signed up for Obamacare (avid supporter of the creep) and has found out the truth. She pays a high premium and then can’t go to get medical care as the deductible is far to high. So she figure out she is forced to pay for nothing.

  4. Better_Be_Gumballs says:

    gotta leave those millions for the actors and directors. And marketing. Got to pay some news show or some sports team to announce that theyve been sponsored by a movie. Else, we might not know about it. no other venue on earth for getting the word out.

    And, I’m thinking these liberals may not like ObamaCare and what it is doing to their lives, and they will whine about it, but they won’t vote a change because they still “feel” that it is better for those “other people”.

  5. Jeffery says:

    Most businesses would respond to an increase in demand by hiring and building. Mr. Obama has increased demand for the services of health care providers, clinics and hospitals. What are the hospitals complaining about??

    If we need more physicians we can recruit them from overseas, although that would put downward pressure on doctors’ pay. We can build more medical schools, although that would put downward pressure on doctors’ pay. We can train more physician’s assistants, but that would put downwar pressure on doctors’ pay. In 2011, median physician pay ranged from about $200,000 for a gen practioner to $600,000 for an orthopedic surgeon.

    We’ve decided (with some dissent) that every American has a right to affordable healthcare. The market will adjust.

  6. Jl says:

    “The market will adjust.” I see. But the human race won’t be able to “adjust” to climate change, something that’s been going on for billions of years unless we needlessly drive up energy prices and further ruin the economy? Thanks for clearing that up. Due back on planet earth now.

  7. […] havoc on the economy. Obamacare has driven up health insurance premiums and now Americans are heading to emergency rooms in droves. So it’s no surprise that he has signed an executive order burdening taxpayers with student […]

  8. david7134 says:

    jeff,
    Is there anything that you know about. Your discussion on medical cost is incorrect, but in your defense is the tired old positions and points of the communist. England and Canada have tired your system and it has failed. I don’t need to see the government generated stats that are used to establish how “happy” everyone is with the government systems. As to impact of doctors here in the US, just look at the social experiment that is the VA. Total fail and total lie in stats.

  9. gitarcarver says:

    What Jeffery doesn’t understand is the increase in ER visits IS the market correction.

    When the government told doctors they’d have to take less money without doing anything on the costs side, the doctors said “see ya” to being part of certain networks.

    That helped drive people to the ER.

    Conservatives called this back when ObamaCare was being discussed. We have history of other countries on our side and yet liberals bought into the idea that there is not only such a thing as a free lunch, you can get other people to pay for it.

    The chickens are coming home to roost and liberals are worried about being fried in the pan.

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