One-Third of ER Visits Are Non-Essential [PHIL-OSOPHY]
Perhaps you were around when the original host of Family Feud, Richard Dawson, would blazon, "Survey says!" Well, in a new Center for Health Information and Analysis survey, the survey says that almost three percent of Massachusetts residents did not have health insurance in 2019, in spite of a law nearly 15 years ago that was designed to make certain everyone had it.
Still, the numbers were an improvement over the 3.7 percent uninsured rate in 2017. Another notation was nearly 40 percent of folks with health insurance received an unexpected medical bill.
But the biggest setback, in my opinion, was that over a third of emergency room visits were for uncritical complaints that cost a lot of money compared to directing people to lower-priced, yet appropriate care they could get at a community health center.
It's one of those pain-in-the-neck predicaments, but for decades, getting people educated to go to the health center for a sore throat or flu symptoms instead of the ER has been a difficult task to accomplish. If they only understood how those hefty costs drive up the price of healthcare for us all.
If the COVID-19 crisis taught us anything, it's people will hear and get the message through broken record repetition and an unchanging campaign of advertising in various languages. If we want to change what the survey says, then I recommend a torrent of marketing, broadcasting, brainwashing, promotion – quite frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn what you call it. But in a few years from now, it will pay off like nobody's business.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.