Drop in ED Visits Post-Obamacare?

Dan Munro posted an interesting chart from Gallup that shows the percentage of uninsured in the US since 2008:
Uninsured Americans Since 2008 - Gallup
The chart clearly shows a drop in those that are uninsured. I think we can quite confidently say that this is the result of Obamacare where many uninsured Americans could get free health insurance. While many are proclaiming this data illustrates that this means that Obamacare is a success, I think the jury is still out.

In fact, this reminds me of those who consider the EHR incentive money and meaningful use a success because EHR adoption has increased. This might be true, but it might also be true that the wrong EHRs were adopted and so we wasted a lot of money encouraging the adoption of the wrong EHR. That’s just one example. It’s good that there’s been a change, but change does not always mean that we changed for the better.

Going back to the rise of the insured population in the US, I wonder if those newly insured have stopped going to the ED. That was one of the arguments that were made by proponents of ACA. Basically, the uninsured knew they could go to the ED anytime they wanted and not be turned away. Now that many of those people have health insurance, are they now going to a doctor’s office instead of the ED?

I haven’t seen any numbers that indicate this is the case. Plus, I fear that those who do switch from the ED to the doctors office will learn about deductibles and head right back to the ED.

If you have data on this trend, I’d love to see it. No doubt how this goes will have a tremendous impact on the bottom line of hospitals.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.