Emergency Room Visits Increase Under Obamacare

According to new research, emergency room visits are increasing under Obamacare.

A survey of 2,098 emergency-room doctors conducted in March showed about three-quarters said visits had risen since January 2014. That was a significant uptick from a year earlier, when less than half of doctors surveyed reported an increase. The survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians is scheduled to be published Monday.

Medicaid recipients newly insured under the health law are struggling to get appointments or find doctors who will accept their coverage, and consequently wind up in the ER, ACEP said. Volume might also be increasing due to hospital and emergency-department closures—a long-standing trend.

“There was a grand theory the law would reduce ER visits,” said Dr. Howard Mell, a spokesman for ACEP. “Well, guess what, it hasn’t happened. Visits are going up despite the ACA, and in a lot of cases because of it.”

It is damaging the American healthcare system.

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), which conducted the survey, pointed to the shortage of primary care doctors and the low payment rates from Medicaid, which accounts for much of ObamaCare’s coverage expansion.

“America has severe primary care physician shortages, and many physicians will not accept Medicaid patients because Medicaid pays so inadequately,” Dr. Michael Gerardi, president of ACEP, said in a statement. “Just because people have health insurance does not mean they have access to timely medical care.”

The inability to get a timely appointment with a primary care doctor leaves people still relying on emergency rooms, he argues.

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