Health Care Law Could Overextend ERs

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The health care law may cram millions of new patients into already overcrowded emergency rooms.

Health care experts predict 32 million newly insured people will frequently use hospital emergency rooms, most of which are already over capacity.

Supporters of the law claim it will ease emergency room traffic.

However, many doctors argue it will have the opposite affect, saying newly insured people will visit hospital emergency rooms for primary care, because they do not have doctors.

"Everybody expected that one of the initial impacts of reform would be less pressure on emergency departments; it's going to be exactly the opposite over the next four to eight years," Rich Dallam, a health care partner at the architectural firm NBBJ, which designs health care facilities, told The Hill.

"We don't have the primary care infrastructure in place in America to cover the need. Our clients are looking at and preparing for more emergency department volume, not less," he added.

Some predict hospitals will need $2 trillion over 20 years to meet the upcoming demand.

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