The new healthcare law will pack 32 million newly insured people into emergency rooms already crammed beyond capacity, according to experts on healthcare facilities.
A chief aim of the new healthcare law was to take the pressure off emergency rooms by mandating that people either have insurance coverage. The idea was that if people have insurance, they will go to a doctor rather than putting off care until they faced an emergency.
People who build hospitals, however, say newly insured people will still go to emergency rooms for primary care because they don’t have a doctor.
“Everybody expected that one of the initial impacts of reform would be less pressure on emergency departments; it’s going to be exactly the opposite over the next four to eight years,” said Rich Dallam, a healthcare partner at the architectural firm NBBJ, which designs healthcare facilities.
“We don’t have the primary care infrastructure in place in America to cover the need. Our clients are looking at and preparing for more emergency department volume, not less,” he said.
Some Democrats agree with this assessment.
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) suspects the fallout that occurred in Massachusetts’ emergency rooms could happen nationwide after health reform kicks in.
Massachusetts in 2006 created near-universal coverage for residents, which was supposed to ease the traffic in hospital emergency rooms.
But a recent poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians found that nearly two-thirds of the state’s residents say emergency department wait times have either increased or remained the same.
A February 2010 report by The Council of State Governments found that wait times had not abated since the law took effect.
Just because you now have mandated health insurance, especially for the young and healthy, doesn't mean you are going to go to your primary care physician on a regular basis or take better care of yourself (one could make the perfectly sane argument that extending the social safety net may incur exactly the opposite response. Remember, these are people in their 20s we are talking about).
This represents the fallacy and short-sightedness of social engineering. The government could also mandate the purchase of dental floss, but does that mean people are going to go to the dentist more often or take better care of their teeth? And the mandatory carrying of auto insurance sure as hell doesn't make Californians better drivers, now does it?
We believe the anticipated stress on emergency rooms as put forth in this article is actually understated. In a poll conducted back in March by a national physician search firm, found that 46% of primary care physicians said they would leave or try to leave the profession as a result of ObamaCare.
We have shortfall of physicians as it is which will only be compounded by current primary care docs fearing lower reimbursement rates and general meddling by federal bureaucracies interfering in the doctor/patient relationship, saying, "screw it" and getting out of the profession all together.
The more we study ObamaCare, the more we come to the conclusion that you could not develop a piece of legislation more injurious to our healthcare system if you tried.