Friday, April 24, 2009

The Massachusetts health-care experiment

One of the motivating factors behind the Bay State's push to make everybody get health insurance was to curtail expensive emergency room visits. The idea was that if people visit a doctor before their condition warrants a trip to the ER, it would save Massachusetts money in the long run. How's that working out?

More people are seeking care in hospital emergency rooms, and the cost of caring for ER patients has soared 17 percent over two years, despite efforts to direct patients with nonurgent problems to primary care doctors instead, according to new state data.
Beacon Hill insists we shouldn't interpret failure as, well, failure:

Massachusetts officials yesterday cautioned against drawing conclusions about whether the state's new insurance mandate has failed to ease overuse of the emergency room, saying more years of data are needed to measure the law's impact.


jaws said...

IIRC--hasn't the Globe previously run articles detailing the shortage of Primary Care Physicians in MA? Or shortage of PCPs who will accept the state's insurance plans?

Combine that with the state's campaigns against the drug-store mini-clinics...

...more visits to hospital Emergency departments!

Though the Bay State politicos are trying the "there's not enough data in our data set" excuse.

Eric said...

Correct. There are no primary care doctors. But now that everybody has insurance, they have no qualms about visiting the ER for quick service.

It's embarrassing to think that nobody on Beacon Hill considered these scenarios.