5 Million Uninsured Children Eligible for Free or Low-Cost Coverage, Defensive Medicine, and Democrats Run Away from Health Care

Five million uninsured children are eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP, but not enrolled. 39% are in California, Florida and Texas.

More than half of the 354 million annual doctor visits are not with a patient’s primary physician. More than a quarter take place in hospital emergency rooms.

Defensive-medicine costs $45.6 billion per year. (gated)

Officials in Washington can’t identify a single House member who’s running an ad boasting of a “yes” vote on health reform. Even though 219 Democrats voted yes.

Comments (6)

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  1. Joe S. says:

    Nobody who voted for ObamaCare is proud of that fact? That’s a real hoot.

  2. Stephen C. says:

    The problem with the doctor visits is that (1) we are nowhere near the medical home model that the reformers keep talking about and (2) the primary care system is in shambles at the very time that Congress passed a bill expanding primary care beenfits for almost everybody.

  3. Vicki says:

    Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if the Democrats lost both houses of Congress because of the health care vote? Couldn’t happen to more deserving people.

  4. Devon Herrick says:

    If one-quarter of 354 million acute care visits took place in an emergency room (ER) that equals 88.5 million ER visits. The data from the study was for 2001 to 2004. In 2002, there were about 110 million ER visits. This suggests that 80% of ER visits in 2002 were for acute care, rather than emergent care. These figures sound much higher than I would have expected. However, if accurate it sheds light on how the shortage of primary care physicians will result in exploding ER visits by people covered by insurance but no access to a doctor.

  5. Ken says:

    Has anyone considered that if 5 million children don’t sign up for free health care, the insurance must not be worth very much to the parents? Don’t you think if I dropped a $100 bill on the emrgency room floor, somone would pick it up very quickly. Yet a Medicaid application form on the same floor could stay there for days.

  6. Linda Gorman says:

    ED visits by population group, 2006, as reported by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: US average was 41 visits per 100 people. Medicaid/SCHIP enrollees had 82 visits per 100 individuals, representing 26% of all US ED visits. Other big users were those older than 75 and those in nursing homes.

    ED visits are close to free for Medicaid/SCHIP enrollees in most states. In a study that wasn’t exactly surprising for market oriented health care reformers, a $50 copay for Oregon’s Medicaid expansion population resulted in an 18% decrease in case-mix-adjusted ED utilization rates.

    ED use has relatively little to do with not having a primary care physician or usual source of care–in one survey, more than 90 percent of people visiting MA EDs reported having a usual source of care. EDs are convenient because everything is in one place. They are open 24/7, too.