Backers of ObamaCare have said it would reduce the number of visits to emergency rooms, the Wall Street Journal notes, but in fact, a poll of ER doctors finds that number has been climbing. "Visits are going up despite the (Affordable Care Act), and in a lot of cases because of it," a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians tells the Journal. The findings come from a March poll of 2,098 doctors, three-quarters of whom said they'd seen ER visits increase since January 2014. Last year, less than half of doctors polled noted an increase in the number of visits.
The ACEP says people who have gained Medicaid insurance under the law are heading to the ER because they have a hard time getting appointments otherwise; many doctors won't accept their insurance, ACEP notes. There is also the problem of hospitals and ERs closing. The president of ACEP tells USA Today that there is also a shortage of primary care doctors given the number of people now insured. US officials have predicted that by 2020, the country will be 20,000 primary care doctors short of its needs. "(Patients) don't have anywhere to go but the emergency room," he says. "This is what we predicted. We know people come because they have to."