Among the many lies and untruths told to the American people was one that said Obamacare would cut the number of emergency room visits. President Obama stood before the nation and told us that more people will be going to doctors’ offices for treatment and that the number of visits to emergency rooms will decrease.
However, according to a study conducted by Harvard University, the number of emergency room visits is going to increase under Obamacare instead of decrease.
In 2008, Oregon expanded its Medicaid program to include more people and a team from Harvard studied what happened. The state held a lottery to determine who would be allowed to enroll in Medicaid. The study looked at 25,000 new Medicaid patients in the Portland area over an 18 month period. The Medicaid enrollees visited emergency rooms for non-emergency issues 1.42 times during the study period and uninsured people only visited the ER 1.02 times. New Medicaid enrollees made 40% more ER visits than the uninsured.
Based upon what happened in Oregon, Harvard says that the additional 4 million people that are signing up under Medicaid will also seek non-emergency treatment at emergency rooms.
Economist James Smith with the Rand Corp. looked at the Harvard study and referred to it as the ‘gold standard’ for research. He agrees that Medicaid expansion lead to an increased in emergency room visits, which are more costly than visits to a general practitioners.
Katherine Baicker, co-author of the Harvard study, said that low income people who get enrolled in Medicaid visit emergency rooms for a broad range of issues, many of which could be treated less expensively had the patients visited their primary physician. However, since ER visits are more costly than office visits, it will add more cost to the price tag of Obamacare. Baicker added:
“That leaves policymakers with the difficult evaluation of comparing the substantial real costs of the program, with the substantial benefits to enrollees of having the coverage.”
So far, only twenty-five states plus the District of Columbia are expanding Medicaid. Even with just less than half of the states expanding Medicaid enrollment, over 19 million people are expected to sign up for the government subsidized healthcare program. Don’t forget that 45 states have yet to make 10% of their projected enrollment into Obamacare, so estimates for Medicaid enrollment could be much higher than reality.
The bottom line is that a reduction in emergency rooms visits is just another Obamacare lie told by Obama. It seems that you can take most of what Obama and Pelosi have said about Obamacare and expect the exact opposite.