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Unnecessary ambulance rides surged in New York City after government-subsidized insurance was expanded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new study.
Rides for minor injuries increased by over 37 percent once the ACA made required insurers - public and private - to provide more coverage for ambulance transport, and made more people eligible for Medicaid.
Public - Health - Experts - People - Health
Public health experts expected to see more people utilize health services after the expansion - but say the intent of the measure was not for people to use more emergency services for minor injuries and illnesses.
The study authors say that a Medicaid patient is only responsible for $3 of an ambulance ride, but the services themselves are expensive and may become an overbearing burden on government healthcare costs.
New - York - City - Doctors - Increase
New York City doctors, however, argue that the increase shows the program is meeting the needs of low-income New Yorkers who don't have cars to drive themselves to the hospital.
And, to their minds, overuse of ambulance services is a small price to pay for people to get medical treatment.
Former - President - Obama - Patient - Protection
Former President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act came into effect in January of 2014, and included funding to support more people on Medicaid, the government-subsidized insurance program for low-income Americans.
Across the country, insurance enrollment has since increased by over 27 percent.
States - Expansion - New - York
States are allowed to choose whether to opt into the expansion, and New York did so right away.
Since the state expanded Medicaid, enrollment has grown by 14 percent (as of the latest data, updated in July of last year).
Proportion - New - York - City - Residents
The proportion of New York City residents without insurance has steadily declined since 2014, and is predicted to fall to under 9.5 percent of the city population this year.
Medicaid covers inpatient and outpatient treatment, preventive and annual wellness care, screening and,...
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