Sunday, February 7, 2016

NM emergency rooms adapting to surges in first-time patients under Obamacare

New Mexico has a high number of people with insurance through Medicaid and like South Dakota many are American Indians.
Full Medicaid coverage now extends to 748,000 adults and children — about 36 percent of New Mexico's 2.1 million residents, according to the state Human Service Department. New Mexico expects Medicaid enrollment to expand by June 2017 to 38 percent of the population. About 13 percent of residents remain uninsured. [Santa Fe New Mexican]
342,000 patients visited the emergency departments of the three biggest New Mexico medical providers in 2015. Forty percent were Medicaid patients.
Nationwide, three-quarters of emergency physicians have seen ER visits surge among Medicaid and other newly insured people since Obamacare took effect, according to a survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians. Many of these patients believed they had no other place to go and some had never gone anywhere else to receive health care. Thus, the Medicaid expansion has saved Albuquerque hospitals millions of dollars, because hospitals are now compensated for those patients, data compiled by the health systems show. Steve McKernan, CEO of UNMH, said his ER staffers have made many referrals to Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless and First Nations Community Healthsource. [Albuquerque Journal]
I like the idea of rolling the funding for Tricare, Medicare, the IHS and the VA together then offering Medicaid for all by increasing the estate tax, raising taxes on tobacco and adopting a carbon tax. Reproductive freedoms should be included unconditionally just like the military does under Tricare.

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