The architects of the Affordable Care Act believe that expanding health coverage will curb overall health care costs. Forcing individuals to purchase or pay for someone else’s health insurance will direct them to capitalize on preventative health care in primary care settings, thereby decreasing expensive and in many cases unnecessary visits to the Emergency Room.

According to a recent survey conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians, this isn’t happening. Probably because coverage does not mean guaranteed access to care.

Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal reports:

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.

Medicaid recipients newly insured under the health law are struggling to get appointments or find doctors who will accept their coverage, and consequently wind up in the ER, ACEP said. Volume might also be increasing due to hospital and emergency-department closures—a long-standing trend. 

‘We’re seeing a huge backlog in the ER because the volume has increased,’ said Ryan Stanton, an emergency-room doctor at Baptist Health Lexington in Kentucky. ‘This year we already have had to board people in the ER because of the sheer volumes,’ he said, referring to a practice of keeping patients in the ER until a hospital room becomes available.

Dr. Stanton said ER volume rose about 10% in 2014 from 2013, and was up almost 20% in the first few months of this year.