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 […]
“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.”
This study not only cuts against predictions by ACA supporters that the law would reduce ER uses; it also raises concerns for experts who fear overcrowded ERs. That could mean worse waits and increasing mortality rates—not to mention that receiving last minute urgent care in an ER is more expensive than receiving care earlier on in other settings (hospitals have posted handsome profits in the first quarter).
This is just the latest piece of accumulating evidence that shows the limitations of the ACA. While the law—at great cost—has insured more people, it has not come anywhere close to addressing the deep problems that make health care in the U.S. both expensive and inefficient. The reliance on the the ER as a default care center is one of these deep problems.