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One of the selling points of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) was that it would save health dollars by diverting newly insured patients away from the emergency room toward primary care physicians. Instead, ED use has continued to grow. The issue, according to Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard’s School of Public Health, is the same as it’s always been, regardless of an individual’s insurance status: “In many communities, people in medical practice are not open on weekends, they’re not open on nights, and so patients who feel they really needed to be seen at odd hours use those emergency rooms.” However, those same reasons have pushed more patients into urgent care centers according to the study, Patients’ Perceptions on Health Care in the United States. The report’s data reveal a need to continue educating the public about the array of services available in urgent care; while the majority of respondents perceived costs to be “reasonable” in urgent care, most say they think of urgent care only for “minor wounds and illnesses.”

Study: ACA Fails to Slow ED Visits, But Urgent Care Use Also On the Rise
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