Obamacare's Biggest Lie
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) A recently published study of emergency room use by Medicaid recipients reveals increased ER utilization by those enrolled in the health program. This refutes claims President Barack Obama and his supporters have made about government health care and the benefits of Obamacare.
The study, published in the journal Science, indicated Medicaid recipients actually increased their emergency room visits by 40%.
The distinguished researchers who conducted the study believed that Oregon's "limited expansion of a Medicaid program for uninsured, low-income adults, drawing names from a waiting list by lottery ...created a rare opportunity to study the effects of Medicaid coverage using a randomized controlled design."
By studying the ER use of 25,000 lottery participants for about 18 months after the lottery, they learned that "Medicaid coverage significantly increases overall emergency use by 0.41 visits per person, or 40% relative to an average of 1.02 visits per person in the control group."
The researchers found "increases in emergency-department visits across a broad range of types of visits, conditions, and subgroups, including increases in visits for conditions that may be most readily treatable in primary care settings."
For years the champions of universal health insurance claimed that the uninsured were an inordinate burden to ER services. The uninsured are so, say universal health insurance apostles, because they cannot afford to go to a private doctor and therefore seek out the free services of the ER.
These same folks claimed that if there were universal health insurance, this would not happen because the poor and downtrodden could then go to a private primary doctor like the undeserving wealthy.
One such proponent, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY), trumpeted on her website, "2.7 million uninsured New Yorkers will finally have access to affordable health care, and will no longer need to go right to the emergency room when they get sick, lowering costs for everyone."
Obama repeated this unproven allegation as if it were fact not theory. Even hospital executives parroted this claim.
As it turns out, this theory was, at least partially, false.
A study of Massachusetts ER use after the advent of universal health insurance noted no difference of ER use by the insured and the uninsured.
The website of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) provides an information page debunking ER utilization myths. It addresses two of the most common used by Obamacare backers.
First is the utilization claim. "Emergency visits will increase, despite health care reform, as they have in Massachusetts, which enacted universal coverage in 2006," the ACEP asserts. "Unfortunately, the new health reform law ... does not address the underlying issues that affect ER boarding and crowding."
The ACEP also notes, "Furthermore, coverage does not necessarily equal access, as proven in the early years of the Massachusetts health reforms."