The recent ruling by the Supreme Court allowing states to opt-out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion provisions has caused some state governors to declare that their states would not participate in the expansion. As all states continue to grapple with Medicaid budgets, many opponents of the expansion say that the additional number of Medicaid patients will lead to clogged emergency rooms as Medicaid patients use those facilities as their sources of primary care.
However, a recent study released by the nonpartisan Center for Studying Health Systems shows that Medicaid patients do not use hospital emergency rooms at their primary means for healthcare. The study showed that one out of every 10 people on Medicaid visited hospital emergency rooms for non-urgent care purposes, while one out of every 14 people with employer or privately paid health insurance did the same.
Researchers said this shows Medicaid patients do not visit emergency rooms for non-urgent care reasons significantly more than anyone else. The researchers used information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Under the Affordable Care Act, someetimes referred to as Obamacare, it’s estimated that about 10.5 million Californians would be covered under Medi-Cal (the California version of Medicaid) by 2019. Nationwide, an additional 15 million people would join Medicaid if all states adopt the expanded eligibility criteria outlined under the health care law.