More on how Massachusetts' health care regulations didn't work out as expected

A big surprise from USA Today.

One of the major myths attached to the new health reform law is that it will lead to fewer emergency room visits. Instead of having to go to the ER, the claim goes, more efficient care will be administered to the newly insured in doctors offices by primary care physicians like me.
President Obama himself perpetuated this claim. A year ago at a town hall meeting on health care reform, he said, "We know that when somebody doesn't have health insurance, they're forced to get treatment at the ER, and all of us end up paying for it. ... You'd be better off subsidizing to make sure they were getting regular checkups." In late May, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in Roll Call that "the uninsured will get coverage, no longer left to the emergency room for medical care."
Now we know better.
It's not terribly surprising that real data from Massachusetts, which has had universal health coverage since 2006, show otherwise. From 2004 to 2008, ER visits in the Bay State rose by 9%, with no discernable improvement after 2006. Why? At least part of the reason has been the inability of patients to find primary care physicians for last-minute visits. Let's face it: The ER won't turn you away, but individual and overburdened doctors can and will. The Massachusetts Medical Society has reported that new patients wait for a primary care doctor visit up to two months. . . .



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