by Dr. Roy Cordato
Senior Economist, Emeritas
Part of the argument made by President Obama for expanding Medicaid coverage under Obamacare is that it would reduce emergency room visits. Well a new study concludes that the opposite is turing out to be true. At Reason.com it is being reported that:
Thanks to the Supreme Court, which ruled that states could choose whether or not to expand Medicaid under the law without fear of losing their existing federal funding, we now have something of a natural experiment. Some states have expanded the health program. Others haven’t.
And the results are clear: Emergency room visits are up significantly more in expansion states than in non-expansion states, according to a new study by the Colorado Hospital Association which examined 450 hospitals in 25 states. Medicaid expansion states saw a 5.6 percent increase in emergency department visits in the second quarter of this year compared with the same period last year. Emergency department usage in non-expansion states saw a 1.8 percent increase, possibly because of people who were previously eligible for Medicaid getting covered and using emergency rooms more.
The increased utilization in the expansion states is not only significantly higher than in states that didn’t expand, it’s more than what might have been expected based on data from the previous two years.