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Visits to primary care physicians can result in unnecessary trips to the hospital, according to a recent study that challenges the main arguments of Obamacare.Under the president’s healthcare plan, which was recently upheld by the Supreme Court, more Americans would have access to preventative care and screening.
The idea is that taking care of conditions early can prevent costly treatments later on.
But while primary care if useful in some cases, it’s often wasteful and unnecessary, according to a study by Robert Kaestner and Anthony T. Lo Sasso at the University of Illinois.
Despite being central to Obamacare, there was previously no research to suggest that primary care actually prevents hospital stays later, Kaestner and Lo Sasso write.
The researchers studied healthcare claims from more than 900 different firms in the U.S.
Here’s what they found:
“Estimates indicated that greater outpatient spending was associated with more hospital admissions and greater inpatient spending. Moreover, we presented evidence that the increase in hospital admissions associated with greater outpatient spending was for conditions in which it is plausible to argue that the physician could exercise more discretion—treat “aggressively”. Thus, the positive association between outpatient spending and inpatient spending we find…is “supply sensitive” and largely without substantial health benefit.”
While some people benefitted from going to a primary-care physician for preventative care, the vast majority didn’t and ended up spending more money.
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