ObamaCare causing 5-hour ER waits in California
Image Credit: KMPH-TV
Published by: Dan Calabrese on Monday July 7th, 2014
Remember one of the Democrats' leading arguments in favor of ObamaCare - that more people with health insurance would mean fewer people relying on emergency rooms as their primary health care provider? There was always a huge problem with that. ObamaCare also promised to lower premiums, which is a logical impossibility when you consider all the added benefits it was supposed to deliver, so they tried to cut costs by narrowing provider networks.
As a result, access to primary care providers was actually lessened. And guess where that's driving people to: Emergency rooms!
As KMPH-TV reports, emergency rooms in California are seeing five-hour waits as a result. Not potentially at some point in the future. Now. Five hours is now the average ER wait time throughout California:
This was as predictable as the day is long. There is no way you can guarantee universal access to something while causing the money spent on that same thing to go down. And when you try, your inevitably pathetic attempt will result in the people being asked to provide the service either leaving the profession entirely or severely limiting who they will see - and under what circumstances - because the government has made the business of being a health care provider an economic loser.
Reporter Erik Rosales explains the situation perfectly, particularly in his interview with the doctor who explains he has stopped accepting patients with ObamaCare-subsidized insurance plans. Why? Because he charges $80 for an office visit, while his own costs are $48 per visit. That's a decent profit if he sees enough patients. But ObamaCare policies only pay him $47 per visit. If he accepts that, it costs him money to see patients. Even if you wanted to do that, you couldn't. You have to make a living.
So as more doctors refuse ObamaCare-insured patients, they had for the ER, and ER doctors tell Rosales that their activity is on the rise - and a lot more of it is for what they describe as primary-care type stuff rather than true emergency medicine.
The basic, fundamental flaw in the Democrats' thinking was always this: They thought the ideal situation in health care would be for everyone to have fantastic health insurance policies, and they also thought they only reason people didn't have such policies was that the law allowed insurance companies to turn them down. Pass a law mandating acceptance with price controls, and bam, everyone would have insurance, everyone would go see their primary care physicians for preventive care, and health care spending on the whole would go down.
That was wrong. People didn't lack coverage because health insurers were meanies who didn't want to cover them. Insurance companies are like any other business. They want as many customers as they can get. But there are real, often difficult-to-manage costs involved with paying for another person's health care, and those costs become all the more complicated when people expect you to pay for everything rather than merely insuring against risk like most other insurance policies do.
Understanding none of this, the Democrats went ahead and passed ObamaCare, completing ripping up a system that had a lot of flaws but nonetheless saw more than 80 percent of Americans happy with their coverage, and replacing it with a complete disaster whose negative effects are only starting to be seen and understood. And even now they don't understand the damage they've done, because they never understood health care finance in the first place and they still don't.