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Contrary to Goals, ER Visits Rise Under Obamacare



The emergency entrance at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago as seen on Nov. 16, 2007. Northwestern Memorial Hospital is the primary teaching hospital for Northwestern University Feinburg School of Medicine (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo)

(Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo)

Laura Ungar and Jayne O’Donnell, USA TODAY

(USA Today) — Three-quarters of emergency physicians say they’ve seen ER patient visits surge since Obamacare took effect — just the opposite of what many Americans expected would happen.

A poll released today by the American College of Emergency Physicians shows that 28% of 2,099 doctors surveyed nationally saw large increases in volume, while 47% saw slight increases. By contrast, fewer than half of doctors reported any increases last year in the early days of the Affordable Care Act.

Such hikes run counter to one of the goals of the health care overhaul, which is to reduce pressure on emergency rooms by getting more people insured through Medicaid or subsidized private coverage and providing better access to primary care.




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