The chart above comes from USA Today. It shows that the uninsured are no more likely to use ER services than the insured. For example, among people younger than 17, 17% of the uninsured would visit an ER within the year, vs. 18% among those with insurance – basically no difference.
Proponents of health care reform maintained that the uninsured used ER for routine care, and that insuring them would reduce costs. Oops there.
It’s more interesting to look at ER frequency by Medicaid/Medicare use – considerably higher at every age group. With older people, this makes sense, as health deteriorates as one ages. For the younger age groups, it could hint at a policy problem, as Obamacare will be growing Medicaid/CHIP substantially.
Accompanying story is here.