Special Report: Obamacare Causing Crowded Emergency Rooms
By Erik Rosales
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) — If you have to go to an emergency room get ready to wait more than five hours.Right now, that is the average wait in the state of California.Health experts say you can blame Obamacare and Covered California for that long wait and they say it only going to get worseOne of the promised benefits of the Affordable Care Act was to reduce the pressure on emergency rooms by expanding Medicaid and giving the poor better access to primary care.But instead, a survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians suggests something else.The organization says President Obama's health care reform actually has had a destructive effect on the nation's emergency rooms.American College of Emergency Physicians, Dr. Jay Kaplin says, "Almost half of emergency physicians polled had already seen a rise in their emergency department visits since January one when expanded coverage of the affordable care act took place."And more E.R. visits mean more crowded waiting rooms.Locally officials at Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno say they've seen a sharp rise in emergency room visits since January 2014.Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno says it's getting 300 to 400 patients a day in its emergency room.Defenders of Obamacare, like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggests, "It's a work in progress."Others blame a longstanding shortage of primary-care doctors and the fact that some doctors won't accept Medicaid.Dr. Robert Subers "even if we loved it and wanted to do it, we'd go bankrupt doing it."Dr. Subers says his office can no longer accept Obamacare patients.He says the numbers don't lie.Dr. Subers says he charges roughly $80.00 a visit.With his expenses for support staff and equipment he says he turns a small profit.However, Blue Cross Obamacare only pays a doctor $47.00 per patient visit.That means he'd be paying the insurance company roughly one dollar of his own money to see a patient.Dr. Subers says, "It was supposed to increase access care, Obamacare was supposed to bring down healthcare costs. I'm trying to see where it's done either."So what is the answer?Nearly 9 out of 10 surveyed emergency room doctors believe emergency room visits will only increase by patients over the next 3 to 4 years.Majority of those doctors are concerned that their emergency rooms won't be able to handle the increase in patients.And make no mistake, more people are coming and it will change everything.Dr. Kaplin says, "Now effectively since more people have insurance we are going to be the porch of the medical neighborhood. Rebrand ourselves not being just for emergencies anymore but rather being acute, care, diagnostic, evaluation and treatment centers."Doctor Subers says in the past 40 years he's been involved in medicine, he says these government mandates or insurance changes have all been done in the name of bringing down costs.However, he's yet to see that happen.Dr. Subers says the direction he see us headed is toward socialist medicine.Where the government will step in and mandate that a doctor must see these patients or in order to be able to practice medicine.That could mean fewer people willing to practice medicine in the future.
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