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How Obamacare will hurt doctors

New York Daily News, January 17, 2014

A study just published in the prestigious journal Science reveals that new Medicaid patients in Oregon were 40% more likely to use the emergency room than the uninsured were. This finding is not a surprise to me or most physicians — we have known that truth for years. But it does undermine one of the basic philosophical and practical underpinnings of Obamacare: the notion that expanding insurance will invariably unclog ERs, improve primary and preventive care, prevent diseases and lower costs. The study underlines the findings of a prior survey by the PricewaterhouseCoopers consulting firm that indicated that Medicaid patients are 35% more likely to use the ER unnecessarily than are the uninsured.