The new study provides additional evidence on the impact of Medicaid coverage on ER use. This study was conducted, in part, because many observers speculated that the increase in ER use would decline over time as the newly insured found alternative sources of care or their needs were addressed and their health improved. This speculation was wrong.
According to the authors’ findings:
- Medicaid increased ER visits by 40% in the first 15 months.
- There is no evidence that the increase in ER use is driven by pent-up demand that dissipates over time; instead, the effect of Medicaid on ER use persists over at least the first 2 years of coverage.
- There is no evidence that Medicaid coverage makes use of the physician’s office and use of ERs substitutes for one another.