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Medicaid patients turn to hospitals for emergencies, not routine care

Reuters, July 12, 2012

Most people covered by Medicaid visit hospital emergency rooms for perceived emergencies, not for routine care, much like those with private insurance, according to a study released Wednesday. Researchers said the study helps dispel the notion that poorer patients are clogging hospitals for routine treatment. Patients on Medicaid do visit emergency rooms at twice the rate of privately insured patients, said the study by the non-partisan Center for Studying Health Systems, reflecting ongoing challenges in finding alternative care.