Study says the newly insured visit ER more often

  • Article by: Sabrina Tavernise , New York Times
  • Updated: January 2, 2014 - 7:18 PM

Proponents of health overhaul anticipated the opposite.

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idiocracy2uJan. 2, 1411:08 PM

But a rigorous new study conducted in Oregon has flipped that assumption on its head, finding that the newly insured actually went to the emergency room more often. - Imagine that, when something is free, there will be unlimited demand! These morons tell us they raise taxes to change peoples behavior, yet, we make visits to the emergency room free... Hmmm, me thinks they don't have a clue, or this is completely by design. I go for the latter. We have messed things up so bad, we need even more control to fix what we purposely made bad... Just another nudge...

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sek2undrstndJan. 3, 14 1:13 AM

One more example that liberals don't understand basic economic theory.

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rlwr51Jan. 3, 14 2:17 AM

Since hospitals are run by the smart people and they know this why don't they add a triage to their ER departments that include an urgent care and a scheduling desk for later appointments?

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mohawk1953Jan. 3, 14 6:57 AM

The real question is, where did they go before they had insurance - to the ER? Maybe they're just ignorant on how the medical system works, and don't realize you're supposed to go to your primary care clinic, urgent care if you think you need help now, and the emergency room ONLY in the event of an emergency. This is more likely an education thing and not a failure of the new health care plan.

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odinmanJan. 3, 14 7:42 AM

@mohawk1953 - It is not ignorance so much I don't think. (if it is..I fear for our future) Rather it is the entitlement mentality of a lot of these folks. Why should they bother to make an appointment at a clinic when the ER will do? After all, it is "free" so who cares?

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drichmnJan. 3, 14 8:40 AM

"Rather it is the entitlement mentality of a lot of these folks. Why should they bother to make an appointment at a clinic when the ER will do?" ... no, it is not. A 2013 RAND study about the evolving role of ED's documents that people are referred there by primary care physicians. From the study: "EDs support primary care practices by performing complex diagnostic workups and handling overflow, after-hours, and weekend demand for care. Almost all of the physicians we interviewed—specialist and primary care alike—confirmed that office-based physicians increasingly rely on EDs to evaluate complex patients with potentially serious problems, rather than managing these patient themselves. ... Data from the Community Tracking Study indicate that most ambulatory patients do not use EDs for the sake of convenience. Rather, they seek care in EDs because they perceive no viable alternative exists, or because a health care provider sent them there."

Instead of jumping on an ideological bandwagon, look at the entire picture.

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sternitzkyJan. 3, 14 8:41 AM

Anytime something is free or reduced in price demand goes up. Just look at all the sales flyers that come in the newspaper each week. If it works for those businesses, it will work for healthcare too.

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pitythefoolsJan. 3, 14 9:00 AM

Did Obamacare make ER visits "free?" They were never "free" before. You couldn't be turned away for an emergency condition before, but then you would get billed for it. And many people have been turned away from the ER before if they had a non-emergency condition and couldn't pay for it. Doesn't Obamacare have some high deductible plans, and in fact for people who used to rely on ER's wouldn't they have most likely chosen the plans with the low rates, but high deductibles? Thus all the ER needs to do is tell them that it will cost far less out of pocket to go to a doctors office if it's not an emergency.

All the above would suggest this is an education issue, teaching those who have not had insurance before how to use it. What am I missing?

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briechersJan. 3, 14 9:55 AM

In the last 50 years, have liberals predicted the future of anything correctly? Have they identified accurately the root causes of any of our national problems? Is it any wonder that their solutions have failed us so completely over this same period? Yet, they keep wanting to nationalize every issue leading up to the most dysfunctional program yet to be thrust upon society...the ACA.

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pitythefoolsJan. 3, 1410:54 AM

Did Obamacare make ER visits "free?" ER's do not provide services for "free." ER's are required by law to provide emergency care (imminent threat of death, permanent organ damage or active labor), but then they send you the bill. Many, (80,000 people at one hospital chain alone in 2011) were turned away from the ER if they couldn't pay for non-emergency care. ER care is not "free."

Since the people who are used to going to the ER for care are likely to be people who choose low-premium/high deductible insurance under the ACA, they are going to be quite surprised when they get the bill for the deductible portion of their "free" ER visit. It would seem that, in the case of non-emergency care, it would be to the ER and the patient's best interest for the ER to tell the patient that since this is not an emergency it would be far cheaper for them to schedule an appointment with a regular doctor, rather than pay the much higher cost they will incur at the ER. Seems like a simply education matter to me.

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