Skip to comments.Study: Medicaid patients use emergency room more, not less
Posted on 01/03/2014 7:02:20 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Another Obamacare rationale bites the dust:
A new study of Medicaid beneficiaries in Oregon makes a strong version of this case. The study, published today in the journal Science, finds that adult Medicaid beneficiaries rely on emergency rooms about 40 percent more than similar uninsured adults.
“When you cover the uninsured, emergency room use goes up by a large magnitude,” said Amy Finkelstein, a health economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who served as a lead investigator on the study, in an MIT press statement accompanying the study.
There were no exceptions to the trend. “In no case were we able to find any subpopulations, or type of conditions, for which Medicaid caused a significant decrease in emergency department use,” said Finkelstein.
Weve seen real-world evidence that Medicaid increases emergency room utilization before, in states like California. But the Oregon study should settle any lingering debate.
These results, reported by Peter Suderman at Reason, were reported in the journal Science and are based on the Medicaid study in Oregon that made news in May for showing Medicaid patients had no material health improvements over the uninsured.
The Oregon study is important because it’s a randomized controlled trial the research gold standard we’ve reported on before in studies like the Tennessee Pre-K study and the Washington, D.C. Opportunity Scholarship study. Washington state held a lottery for access to Medicaid and then studied the both the cohort that got Medicaid and the cohort that did not. This means the cohorts were randomly selected within a group of people with similar motivations, economic situations, etc., making them more accurately comparable.
Suderman notes that Medicaid recipients are less likely to experience ” feel better after they are covered, and they are much less likely to be subject to large, health-related financial shocks,” making it largely a “financial buffer” instead of a health program. If our friends on the Left were as pro-science as they purport to be, they’d acknowledge it’s worth discussing whether we’re accomplishing what we want to accomplish with these very expensive programs. Research shows we’re not helping people as advertised. If we’d like to actually help people instead of just patting ourselves on the back for saying we’re helping them, we’ve got to rethink these programs instead of expanding them. If anything, the Oregon study offers a pretty decent argument for Republican governors that skipping Medicaid expansion wasn’t just the right fiscal decision, but the right one for general health outcomes and emergency room crowding.
What a great find!!!!! I am passing this around the web. I encourage everyone else to do the same!
So true! They tend to use it as regular people would a doctor visit. Unfortunately, some also use 911 as their taxi service to the ER too. My nephew worked an ambulance here in St. Louis and he said the abuse is horrible.
If you are on Medicaid/MediCal and wake up with a sore throat, sore back, sore hip or a sore toe, you don’t need to make an appointment just show up in your local ER.
That will give you something to do for most of the day and the small herd that brings you to the hospital ER.
Apparently, ER visits don’t count towards your monthly office visit limits.
This overload of non ER freebee patients in the ERs can sometimes mean long waits for paying patients with real emergencies. The ER staffs often are afraid to keep MediCaid patients and their clan/support group waiting too long. Often they will see them and get them out of the ER faster than those with real ER problems.
We are already seeing what appears to be an increase in ER visits and 911 calls where I work and live here in Washington State. The problem is that even a small increase bogs the system down and people with real problems don’t get treated in a timely manner. There is absolutely nothing good that is going to come from this legislation... it is virtually bad at every level. Which is what happens when the government starts meddling in areas where they have no expertise.
“We are already seeing what appears to be an increase in ER visits and 911 calls where I work and live here in Washington State. The problem is that even a small increase bogs the system down and people with real problems dont get treated in a timely manner. There is absolutely nothing good that is going to come from this legislation... it is virtually bad at every level. Which is what happens when the government starts meddling in areas where they have no expertise.”
As I have noted before the non emergency MediCal/Caid ER patients meant that patients with real problems were not treated in a timely manner even before Obozocare hit.
Two years ago a friend broke her ankle due to a faulty escalator at about 8:30 am. She was brought by ambulance to the ER at about 9 Am. Another couple met her at the ER and left after 4 hours with her only getting a temp wrap, not a cast. We came in at about 2 pm to relieve the other couple, and the ER was packed with the non ER patients. The real patients were in exam rooms waiting for the docs. About 2% of us in the waiting room spoke English. Most of the other waiters spoke Spanish or some form of Asian. There was a group of Eastern Euros in the mix.
I went back to my car and got my cell phone and brought it in and started taking pictures of those waiting and the clock. In about 30 minutes a guard asked me not to take pictures. I told him our friend had been there for 4 hours plus without any real treatment. He went to the desk and talked to the head RN, and he came back and said that we could go back to see our friend. I sent my wife, and I stayed and took a picture of the clock.
He said I had to stop. I told him to take me back to where our friend and my wife was. When, I entered that area, I took a picture of the clock by her stretcher. Suddenly, the head ER RN was there wanting to know what we/I wanted. My wife, a life long real RN, said our friend needed a cast with a doctor checking on her since she had been for 5 hours+.
They sent a rookie paramedteck, who put on a cast. Our friend was in worse pain. My wife, as an RN knew that the cast wasn’t on right and told our friend not to move. Then, another doctor came in to the treatment/cast area, we both knew him. We huddled with him and told him about the wait and the poor job of the first cast.
He talked to our friend and called in an ortho RN, who shook his head, removed the poor cast and put our friend in a correct cast. Immediately, her pain was basically gone. It took less than 20 minutes for that doctor to read the X-Rays, conference with my wife, call in a real Ortho Nurse, and for the Ortho RN to put on a proper cast.
The current doctor checked on her and concurred with my wife. He then said we could take her home.
By the time we got her home, it was close to 7 hours since she had come into the hospital with a simple fracture with basically no real treatment for close to 6 hours. She could have been seen, xrayed, casted and checked out in about an hour instead of basically a day.
It must be even a worse nightmare where you are.
Maybe they can start Rxing medical MJ and put the Obamacare ER Patients on it, then they can see the real patients.
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