Three-quarters of the 2,099 doctors responding to the nationwide survey conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians indicate they have seen an increase in emergency room (ER) visits since the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, went into effect on January 1, 2014.
In the same survey, 28 percent of the respondents say ER use has “increased greatly.”
What providers are witnessing daily in the ER is not what the Obama administration promised would happen, says Dr. Richard Armstrong, a surgeon who practices in Michigan and serves as a board member of the Docs4PatientCare Foundation.
“Obamacare obviously did nothing to reduce the incentive for patients to use the ER as their primary care doctor,” Armstrong said.
All people make their choices based on incentives, and yet Obamacare did nothing to require co-pays from Medicaid patients, Armstrong says.
“It’s not unusual to see a Medicaid patient who simply has a headache to come to the emergency room instead, because it won’t cost them anything to get some Advil [there], which they could buy themselves at the drugstore across the street,” Armstrong said.