The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Z_CNHI News Service

January 10, 2014

Obamacare surprise: More Medicaid means more trips to the ER

(Continued)

“A lot of them don’t have a steady job, they don’t have a steady place to live, they may have drug or alcohol problems, and about all they can think about is getting through the day. They don’t make appointments. Thinking about next week or next month might as well be 10 years from now,” one hospital executive told me. That was about 30 years ago.

Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the architects of Obamacare, has apparently been aware of this all along. He told the Washington Post recently that promises of savings made by people like Sebelius were, “sometimes a misleading motivator for the Affordable Care Act. The law isn't designed to save money. It's designed to improve health, and that's going to cost money."

Gee, nice of him to acknowledge that now. I don’t recall him disputing either Sebelius or the president during the intense debate over whether Obamacare was going to save money.

Oregon officials contend that since 2008, when the patient sample was studied, they have cut the use of ERs with better patient management. But that has required putting “community health workers” – in essence, health-care babysitters – in hospitals to divert patients with non-emergency problems to a less costly setting than the ER. This, they say, will “train” them to do it on their own. Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, there isn’t much discussion about what happens if they get diverted to a doctor who doesn’t take Medicaid.

Everybody should be provided with health care. But in some cases – millions of them nationwide – handing them an insurance plan is not the best way to do that. It certainly is not the way to save any money.

That is something people like Gruber knew – and should have acknowledged – up front.

Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • HallofFameBraves.jpg Hall of Fame adds businesslike Braves, Frank Thomas, managers La Russa and Torre

    Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and their manager, Bobby Cox, dominated much of baseball during the 1990s. This weekend they went into the Hall of Fame together.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's brother claims he's owed $1.7 million that he loaned to keep a family carpet out of bankruptcy in the 1980s.

    July 25, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014