Despite predictions that health-care reform would reduce expensive visits to the emergency room, a study in Oregon finds that newly insured people actually go more often. The study, published in the journal Science, found that those who gained coverage made 40 percent more visits to the emergency room in their first 18 months of insurance. The trend held across demographics, conditions treatable in primary care, and time of day. The findings cast doubt on the premise of the policy overhaul—that insured people would go to primary-care doctors instead of the ER, thus saving the system money.
AWKWARD Joe Skipper/Reuters