The Obamacare Surge

‘ER Patient Visits Surge,’ & Obamacare Exchanges Face ‘Surging Costs’


‘ER Patient Visits Surge,’ ‘In A Lot Of Cases Because Of’ Obamacare’

“Three-quarters of emergency physicians say they've seen ER patient visits surge since Obamacare took effect — just the opposite of what many Americans expected would happen.” (“Contrary To Goals, ER Visits Rise Under Obamacare,” USA Today, 5/4/15)

“‘There was a grand theory the law would reduce ER visits,’ said Dr. Howard Mell, a spokesman for [American College of Emergency Physicians]. ‘Well, guess what, it hasn’t happened. Visits are going up despite the ACA, and in a lot of cases because of it.’” (“U.S. Emergency-Room Visits Keep Climbing,” Wall Street Journal, 5/4/15)

“ER crowding has been linked to longer wait times and higher mortality rates.” (“U.S. Emergency-Room Visits Keep Climbing,” Wall Street Journal, 5/4/15)


‘Exchanges Are Wrestling With Surging Costs,’ ‘One Of The Biggest Cost Drivers Is Call Centers’

“Nearly half of the 17 insurance marketplaces set up by the states and the District under President Obama’s health law are struggling financially, presenting state officials with an unexpected and serious challenge five years after the passage of the landmark Affordable Care Act. Many of the online exchanges are wrestling with surging costs, especially for balky technology and expensive customer-call centers — and tepid enrollment numbers.” (“Nearly Half Of Obamacare Exchanges Are Struggling Over Their Future,” Washington Post, 5/1/15)

“Most exchanges have operating budgets of $28 million to $32 million. One of the biggest cost drivers is call centers, where operators answer questions and can sign people up. Enrollment can be a lengthy process — and in several states, contractors are paid by the minute.” (“Nearly Half Of Obamacare Exchanges Are Struggling Over Their Future,” Washington Post, 5/1/15)


Obamacare Call Processing Center: ‘It Was Like I Was Stealing Money From People’

“A billion dollar government contract involving hundreds of local workers at an Obamacare processing center in Wentzville. But now employees on the inside are stepping forward, asking, ‘Is this why we're broke?’ Some of them claim to spend most of their day doing nothing.” (KMOV-MO, 5/12/14)

  • Worker: “They want to hire more people even though we still don’t have work to keep the people that we have busy.” ... Reporter: “The employee says hundreds of employees spend much of the day staring at computer screens, with little or no work to do.” Reporter Questioning Worker: “Are there some days where a data entry person may not process one single application?” Worker: “There are weeks when a data entry person would not process an application. ... Serco, as a contractor, gets paid for the number of people that they employ. So they want us there even if we’re not doing anything.” (KMOV-MO, 5/12/14)
  • “‘We played Pictionary on every dry erase board,’ Lavonne said. ‘We played 20 questions, we made up games what you did in 1989.’ Employees also told News 4 boredom reigned because of the lack of work…” (“Employee Of ACA Contractor Said She Quit Because Lack Of Work,” KMOV, 5/14/14)



Related Issues: Health Care, Obamacare