Why government healthcare for the poor isn’t reducing E.R. expenses

Originally posted elsewhere on 02/04/2011

This morning I watched Martha MacCallum of Fox News interview John Fund of the Wall Street Journal. Fund was explaining that Medicaid patients were twice as likely as the uninsured to go to the emergency room. Since the government reimbursal rate is lower than the actual cost of treating Medicaid patients, many doctors refuse to see them. Since they’re a money-losing proposition, those doctors who do agree to treat Medicaid patients are pretty much forced to limit the number of such patients that they consult with each day. The result is that Medicaid patients end up waiting longer than others to be seen, so in frustration they go to the Emergency Room instead.