Utilization of Doctors and Emergency Rooms: Implications for Health Care Reform
David P. Bernstein
U.S. Treasury Department
July 31, 2009
This empirical paper, conducted with survey data on working age adults from the 2006 Medical Expenditures Panel (MEPS), assesses the determinants of office-based doctor visits and emergency room visits. Office-based doctor services are a “normal good” which increase in demand with income while emergency room services are an “inferior good” which decreases in demand with income. Marriage is associated with more office-based doctor visits and fewer emergency room visits. Some Medicaid patients are highly dependent upon emergency room services while other Medicaid patients may underutilize in-office doctor services given their health status. The successful implementation of health care reform requires an increase in the number of physicians serving lower-income adults who will be added to Medicaid.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: health insurance, income effect, inferior good, normal good, emergency rooms, physician supply, health care reform, medicaid, coverage, tobit models, logistic models
JEL Classification: C34, C35, H51, I11, I18working papers series
Date posted: August 3, 2009 ; Last revised: March 19, 2012
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