Despite expanded health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more people are going to hospital emergency rooms (ER) for treatment because they can’t get an appointment with a primary care physician, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
“Nearly half of emergency physicians responding to a poll are already seeing a rise in emergency visits since January 1 when expanded coverage under ACA began to take effect,” according to ACEP, which gives overall emergency care in the U.S. “a dismal D+ grade.”
In addition, 86 percent “expect emergency visits to increase over the next three years,” and 77 percent say their ERs “are not adequately prepared for significant increases” in patient volume, according to the online poll.
“Emergency visits will increase in large part because more people will have health insurance and therefore will be seeking medical care,” ACEP’s president, Dr. Alex Rosenau, explained. “But America has severe primary care physician shortages, and many physicians do not accept Medicaid patients, because Medicaid pays so low.”