Study Shows Medicaid Expansion Leads to More ER Visits

Posted: Jan 03, 2014 12:00 PM

A study in Oregon has shown that expanded access to Medicaid results in more frequent visits to emergency rooms, burdening hospitals with added costs. The study was conducted after a lottery system put some people on an expanded Medicaid program and was unable to add others to the program.

Researchers used hospital records to look at ER use over 18 months for 25,000 people in the Portland area who entered the Medicaid lottery, some who were chosen for coverage and some who were not. Patients with Medicaid made, on average, 1.43 ER visits, compared with 1.02 for those who lost the lottery, an increase of 40 percent.

The study also found that 35 percent of people who weren't selected for Medicaid made an ER visit during the research period. For those who gained coverage, however, the number was 7 points higher at 42 percent.

President Obama had previously claimed that expanding programs like Medicaid would reduce ER visits. Furthermore, it was determined in the study that many of the ailments Medicaid patients went to the ER for could have easily been treated in a doctor's office or in a quick-care type clinic.

How many other Obamacare falsehoods are we going to uncover?

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