Originally published February 27 2014
Uninsured patients receive better treatment from American healthcare system than insured
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) After Obamacare passed, it wasn't supposed to be this way.
Healthcare delivery in the U.S. was supposed to improve dramatically. Millions who once had no health insurance were guaranteed to receive it.
And all would get better care.
Like so many other promises made on behalf of the Affordable Care Act, however, that last statement is turning out to be false as well.
A recent study has found that, in the months since the Obamacare roll-out, patients who have been severely injured are less likely to be taken to a trauma center if they have health insurance.
Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine discovered that, in actuality, patients with no insurance are more likely to receive better care than people who have coverage. The team found that insured patients who were taken to non-trauma hospitals were in turn 13 to 15 percent less likely to be summarily transferred to appropriate trauma centers.
So much for coverage
"Insured patients may, ironically, get worse outcomes because they are taken care of at a center where there's a lower volume of resource for critically injured patients," Dr. M. Kit Delgado, a former Stanford emergency medicine instructor, and the study's lead author, said in a press release.
In reaching their conclusions, Delgado's team examined data on more than 4,500 critically injured patients at 636 hospital emergency rooms spread out around the country.
"We hypothesize that non-trauma center hospitals are more likely to want to admit insured patients presumably because they can get reimbursed for their services," said Delgado, who has since taken a position as an emergency care research scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, HealthDay News reported.
CBS DC reported:
Shootings and traffic accidents are the most common causes of death in this county among people under 44-years-old. Previous research has shown that severely injured patients are 2 percent less likely to die if treated at a top-ranked trauma center than at a non-trauma center.
"Finding disparities in quality of trauma care based on insurance is very disturbing," Dr. Nancy Wang, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Stanford, said. "It is important for researchers to identify and call attention to these disparities in access to care and outcomes so that all people can receive the appropriate, high-quality care, regardless of their insurance status," Wang added.
Researchers published their findings online in the journal JAMA Surgery.
No indication Obamacare will fix this
When it was fully implemented, Obamacare was supposed to equalize coverage for Americans. Those who did not have health insurance, because they couldn't afford it, because they had a pre-existing condition and could not buy it or for other reasons, are now supposed to be able to obtain coverage and, as it is, are required to do so under the law, or face a (tax) penalty. The individual mandate, as this is known, has so far not been delayed by the president.
But according to this latest research, the law -- once again -- is failing to perform as designed. In addition to higher premiums for many, other Americans are being forced to buy plans with sky-high deductibles, sometimes as high as several thousand dollars.
And while it was unclear from this particular study what might be causing the trauma treatment disparity -- much of the research data occurred before Obamacare was scheduled to take effect last October -- there is no indication that the Affordable Care Act, even when fully implemented, will resolve these coverage discrepancies.
So many things about the Affordable Care Act that were promised by the president and by the law's backers have turned out to be false. In addition, there is mounting evidence that, because of the various delays and changes to the law made by the president, Americans and American companies are still very confused about it.
That confusion isn't likely to change as long as the requirements keep changing.
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