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ObamaCare’s Medicaid Expansion To Increase Costs For The Country

- January 3, 2014

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"As The Health-Care Law Expands Medicaid To Cover Millions More Americans, A New Harvard University Study Finds That Enrollment In [The] Public Program Significantly Increases Enrollees' Use Of Emergency Departments." (Sarah Kliff, "Study: Expanding Medicaid Doesn't Reduce ER Trips. It Increases Them," The Washington Post's WonkBlog , 1/2/14)

ObamaCare Supporters Claimed That The Law "Would Reduce Costly Emergency Visits As People Sought Care From Primary Doctors." "Supporters of President Obama's health care law had predicted that expanding insurance coverage for the poor would reduce costly emergency room visits as people sought care from primary care doctors. But a rigorous new study conducted in Oregon has flipped that assumption on its head, finding that the newly insured actually went to the emergency room more often." (Sabrina Tavernise, "Access To Health Care May Increase ER Visits, Study Suggests," The New York Times , 1/2/14)

  • President Obama Recently Claimed That ObamaCare Would Help "Reduce Health Care Costs" Because Americans Would Visit The Emergency Room Less Frequently. OBAMA: "And so what happens is when you've got 15 percent of the population without health insurance, they end up showing up at the emergency room, typically at a point when they're much sicker than if they had been getting regular checkups and preventive care. So you pay for the most expensive care there is, because hospitals have got to recoup that money someway. And the way they do it is to charge higher prices. And people who have health insurance end up picking it up. So part of what will-helps reduce the increase in health care costs is making sure that that hidden subsidy no longer exists." (President Barack Obama, Remarks At Clinton Global Initiative Health Care Forum , New York, NY, 9/24/13)

The Study "Showed A 40 Percent Increase In Emergency Department Visits Among Those" On Medicaid. "The research, published Thursday in the journal Science, showed a 40 percent increase in emergency department visits among those low-income adults in Oregon who gained Medicaid coverage in 2008 through a state lottery. This runs counter to some health-care law supporters' hope that Medicaid coverage would decrease this type of costly medical care, by making it easier for low income adults to see primary care providers." (Sarah Kliff, "Study: Expanding Medicaid Doesn't Reduce ER Trips. It Increases Them," The Washington Post's WonkBlog , 1/2/14)

  • The Study Also Found That The Rise In Emergency Room (ER) Visits Increased "ER Spending By $120 A Covered Person." "On average, the Medicaid recipients visited ERs in 12 Portland-area hospitals 1.4 times during an 18-month period, compared with 1.02 visits for the control group without insurance. Using $435 as the average cost of an ER visit, the researchers calculated that Medicaid increased annual ER spending by $120 a covered person. Hospitals often end up footing the bill for uninsured patients." (Melinda Beck, "Putting The Uninsured On Medicaid Doesn't Cut ER Visits," The Wall Street Journal , 1/2/14)

The Study "Suggests ObamaCare's Costs May Be Higher Than Expected." "Emergency rooms may be a preferred choice for care among 3.9 million people newly enrolled in the U.S. Medicaid program for the poor, according to a study that suggests ObamaCare's costs may be higher than expected." (Alex Wayne and Jeanna Smialek, "ObamaCare's Medicaid Expansion May Create Oregon-Like ER Strain," Bloomberg, 1/2/14)

  • ObamaCare Architect Jonathan Gruber: ObamaCare "Isn't Designed To Save Money." "'I would view it as part of a broader set of evidence that covering people with health insurance doesn't save money,' says Jonathan Gruber, a health economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has also studied Oregon's Medicaid expansion but is not affiliated with this study. 'That was sometimes a misleading motivator for the Affordable Care Act. The law isn't designed to save money. It's designed to improve health, and that's going to cost money.'" (Sarah Kliff, "Study: Expanding Medicaid Doesn't Reduce ER Trips. It Increases Them," The Washington Post's WonkBlog , 1/2/14)
  • Rand Corp. Economist James Smith: Medicaid Expansion "Increases Emergency Department Use And It Increases Costs." "The studies are 'the gold standard' for research on the effect of Medicaid coverage, said James Smith, a Rand Corp. economist who reviewed the latest report. The study 'changes the terms of the debate' on Medicaid expansion, he said. 'It increases emergency department use and it increases costs,' he said. 'That doesn't mean it isn't a good thing to do, but that's what it does.'" (Alex Wayne and Jeanna Smialek, "ObamaCare's Medicaid Expansion May Create Oregon-Like ER Strain," Bloomberg, 1/2/14)

The Study Casts Doubt That Expanded Medicaid Coverage Lowers Expensive Emergency Room Visits. "The finding casts doubt on the hope that expanded insurance coverage will help rein in rising emergency room costs just as more than two million people are gaining coverage under the Affordable Care Act." (Sabrina Tavernise, "Access To Health Care May Increase ER Visits, Study Suggests," The New York Times , 1/2/14)


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