Free Markets, Free People

Meanwhile back to the more mundane but important stuff

Like uncovering more nonsense to be found in the promises made for ObamaCare.

Such as, “when everyone has insurance, Emergency Rooms will no longer be overcrowded.”

Uh, wrong:

Hospital emergency rooms, the theory goes, get overcrowded because people without health insurance have no place else to go.

But that’s not the view of the doctors who staff those emergency departments.
The real problem, according to a new survey from the American College of Emergency Physicians, isn’t caused by people who don’t have insurance — it’s caused by people who do, but still can’t find a doctor to treat them.

A full 97 percent of ER doctors who responded to the ACEP survey said they treated patients "daily" who have Medicaid (the federal-state health plan for the low-income), but who can’t find a doctors who will accept their insurance…."The results are significant," said ACEP President Sandra Schneider in prepared comments. "They confirm what we are witnessing in Massachusetts — that visits to emergency rooms are going to increase across the country, despite the advent of health care reform, and that health insurance coverage does not guarantee access to medical care."

Yes, that little 1/50th scale ObamaCare model that’s been functioning – well sort of – in Massachusetts (aka RomneyCare) has proved to be the debacle it was predicted to be.

And the ObamaCare promise hasn’t tested out there at all. 

The Massachusetts story Schneider refers to is important because it shows exactly what we can expect under the new health care law. In the wake of the Bay State’s 2006 health care overhaul, which provided the model for ObamaCare, emergency room visits soared. Backers of that overhaul made arguments similar to President Obama’s, saying that they hoped that by expanding insurance coverage, they’d get people set up with primary care physicians and thus reduce the number of emergency room visits. Didn’t happen. Lines to see doctors got longer. And as they did, emergency room visits rose 9 percent between 2004 and 2008, at which point the commissioner of the state’s Health Care Finance and Policy division kind of shrugged his shoulders and admitted that the uninsured aren’t really the cause of emergency room crowding. Too bad, I guess, and too late: Massachusetts passed the law anyway. And now the rest of us are stuck with it too.

Yup.  And the cost?

But John Goodman, the head of the National Center for Policy Analysis, did some rough calculations for the health policy journal Health Affairs last year, and he estimated that thanks to the law’s coverage expansion, we can expect somewhere in the range of 848,000 to 901,000 additional emergency room visits each and every year. ObamaCare’s backers are right that, as passed, the law will result in significantly greater health insurance coverage across the country. But all that coverage will come with a hefty price tag attached: about a trillion dollars over the next decade, and more like $1.8 trillion in the first full decade of operation. In return we’ll get longer wait times at the doctor, and even more crowded emergency rooms—but nothing like a guarantee of actual access to care.


Sucks, doesn’t it?


Twitter: @McQandO


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7 Responses to Meanwhile back to the more mundane but important stuff

  • Even a blind man could see this unintended consequence coming five miles away.
    I’m reminded of what my old boss used to say to me, “Did you validate your assumptions?”

  • This is the cause of the long waits in Canadian Emergency rooms thanks to doctors overbooked (and not inclined to kill themselves on hours at their contrained wages). 

    It isn’t insurance that causes the problem.  Its price controls and deincentivizing people becoming doctors from taking Medicaid patients, voluntarily working more hours, or becoming doctors in the first place. 

  • and just think: talk of repeal is now deemed “not helpful”, “not constructive” and (my personal favorite) “unrealistic” on both sides of the political aisle in DC.

    Brings all of the warm and fuzzies to know that the congressional GOP will be lauded for being “realistic” on ObamaCare while we’re all sliding down the rathole.

    Yeeeeessss, Sir, “constructive” even….

  • It gets even worse.  Ever talk to ER docs and nurses about some of the people who show up?  People swilling a 2 liter and shoveling in the last of a bag of Doritos complaining about “stomach pains”.  People who are constipated but didn’t want to take the trouble to stop by the drug store and get some laxatives.  People who simply want to use the ambulance as a taxi service because they have friends who live near the hospital.  I had a coworker years ago who would take her kids to the ER for a sniffle because it was easier than scheduling a doctor’s appointment AND they gave her free drugs.

    Naturally, not all people who show up in the ER are abusers, but many are.  The doctors have no choice but to treat the deadbeats.  Further, thanks to our litigious society, the leeches MUST get the best of care, including huge batteries of tests, because the doctor / hospital doesn’t want a lawsuit because they “carelessly” didn’t notice that the slob complaining of a bellyache also had a small tumor in his lung or high blood pressure.

    I also seem to recall the libs promising that ObamaCare would help reduce costs simply because people would get “preventative care”.  It was crap then and it is crap now.  “Preventative care” (A) isn’t going to prevent many diseases and illnesses any more than it will prevent accidents because many diseases cannot be “prevented”, and (B) to the extent that preventative care works, it relies on the PATIENT doing what his doctor tells him.  “Lose fifty pounds, get at least thirty minutes of exercize at least four days per week, stop smoking, practice safe sex, cut down or eliminate alcohol, and otherwise live a clean, boring life.” Yeah, EVERYBODY will follow those instructions.


    • This.  Talk to EMTs enough and you’ll hear a lot about these sorts of folks.  People abuse the Emergency Medical system because they can.  People will cost the taxpayer hundreds of dollars for an ambulance because it’s cheaper for them than paying $10 for the pills they want or $20 for a taxi.  If you create a scenario where they get access to even more coverage with having to contribute anything, the situation gets worse not better.

    • The drunks living next door to my mom would take taxis to the liquor stores using the SSI money.
      Then after a month-long binge they would take an ambulance to the hospital for a “rest.”