Another ObamaCare Myth Debunked

One of the many claims made in favor of ObamaCare is that it would mean a decrease in the workload at hospital emergency rooms as people seeking treatment would go to a regular doctor once they had health insurance. But if the situation in Massachusetts is any indication, that claim cannot be justified.

Just as Massachusetts' health care system has been the prototype for ObamaCare, it has also shown that many of the features included in ObamaCare won't work. The ER claim is but one of them.

A year ago at a town hall meeting on health care reform, he said, "We know that when somebody doesn't have health insurance, they're forced to get treatment at the ER, and all of us end up paying for it. ... You'd be better off subsidizing to make sure they were getting regular checkups." In late May, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in Roll Call that "the uninsured will get coverage, no longer left to the emergency room for medical care."

Now we know better.

It's not terribly surprising that real data from Massachusetts, which has had universal health coverage since 2006, show otherwise. From 2004 to 2008, ER visits in the Bay State rose by 9%, with no discernable improvement after 2006. Why? At least part of the reason has been the inability of patients to find primary care physicians for last-minute visits. Let's face it: The ER won't turn you away, but individual and overburdened doctors can and will. The Massachusetts Medical Society has reported that new patients wait for a primary care doctor visit up to two months.

Under ObamaCare we can expect exactly the same results nationwide because exactly the same problems exist in the rest of the nation as well. ObamaCare doesn't increase the number of hospitals, physicians, nurses, and other medical care staff. All it does is place an even greater burden upon them than doing nothing. That is no way to 'reform' health care.