One of the goals of Massachusetts' health care mandate was to reduce the number of emergency room visits, which are an expensive drag on the state economy:
Routine care in ERs is considerably more expensive than at a doctor's office or community health center. The average charge for treating a non-emergency illness in the ER is $976, according to a 2007 report by the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, which estimated that the total bill for non-urgent ER care in Massachusetts exceeded $1 billion in 2005. In comparison, it costs between $84 and $164 to treat a typical ailment such as strep throat in a primary care doctor's office, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state's largest private insurer.How's the new plan working out? From today's Boston Globe: "Costly ER still draws many now insured"
Thousands of newly insured Massachusetts residents are relying on emergency rooms for routine medical care, an expensive habit that drives up healthcare costs and thwarts a major goal of the state's first-in-the-nation health insurance law.Good intentions.
The 2006 law requires nearly everyone to have health insurance, coverage the law's framers hoped would ease overuse of ERs as the newly insured went instead to primary care doctors for non-urgent health needs.
But a sizable number of patients who obtained state-subsidized insurance have continued to use the ER - at a rate 14 percent higher than Massachusetts residents overall, according to state data compiled at the Globe's request. Those state-subsidized patients with the lowest incomes, who formerly received free care in emergency rooms and now pay a nominal fee, are using ERs at a rate 27 percent higher than the state average.
Extra - Meanwhile in Georgia, creeping socialism as "civic rent."