Data reported by the American Action Forum indicate that between 2013 and 2014:
- spending on physician and clinical services declined by ~1%, despite an increase in physician prices (suggesting a net decrease in the utilization of physician services); and,
- spending on hospital services increased <1% even though the growth in hospital prices decreased ~1% (suggesting more individuals are using ER's for primary care).
- in California, Medicaid expansion demonstrated a direct correlation in increased visits to the ER; and,
- new-patient visits to primary care providers accounted for only 22.9% of all primary care visits in 2014, an increase of only 0.3% from 2013.
Taken in aggregate, what do those data indicate?
- One of Obamacare's primary goals of was to expand access to affordable healthcare. To pay for the subsidies that would facilitate expanding healthcare insurance coverage, many recipients of federal funds (e.g., hospitals and MDs) were forced to accept payment reductions. Hospitals were cut $260B over 10 years.
- A large portion of the newly-insured were utilizing the ER at higher rates than both the uninsured and the commercially insured. The assumption that fewer individuals would be going to the ER to receive primary care by increasing insurance coverage to millions has demonstrated itself to be patently false.
With 5 years of experience, Obamacare has demonstrated that it has failed to fulfill two of its promises: It has not reduced the cost of providing healthcare care or to provide individuals access to affordable care. Instead, individuals continue to delay treatment or seek primary care in the ER, both of which have increased the cost of providing healthcare to these individuals.
With what outcome? The King et al. v. Burwell decision now allows the federal goverment's exchange to provide healthcare insurance in those states that have not established exchanges or whose exchanges have gone or are going bankrupt, thus putting into place a single-payer system. Those rising costs--Obamacare has not bent the "cost curve" down--will be spread across the nation and not borne by the states where those costs are highest. This "spreading the wealth around a bit" will translate into even higher and higher taxes across the nation for the 48% of those who pay the taxes.
Given what "hope and change" really means--spreading the costs of healthcare around to all of the nation's taxpayers--hopefully that's why The Motley Monk's friends are clinking their champagne flutes. After all, they're the ones who will be footing the bill.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the report by the American Action Forum, click on the following link:
"Obamacare Failed to Address ER Overcrowding."