July 26, 2017
The study also showed that Medicaid-covered visits increased by almost 6 percent, while the number of uninsured patient visits decreased almost 6 percent.
Among uninsured patients who visited an emergency department before the ACA, 37 percent made at least one visit to an emergency department during the post-ACA study period. About 28 percent of those patients remained uninsured for all visits, while 31 percent were consistently enrolled in Medicaid.
“It was unrealistic to expect emergency department visits to decrease immediately after the ACA enactment,” said Gabor Kelen, director of the Johns Hopkins Department of Emergency Medicine. “The ACA did not really address incremental primary care access for the newly insured. Many new Medicaid-insured patients are still dealing with serious conditions that require emergency hospital care. Also, a population who could only previously receive care in the emergency department is not likely to immediately change this tendency.”
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