Insurance expansion won't increase ICU use

While healthcare reform in Massachusetts--which served as the model for the federal law--increased the number of insured patients, it did not lead to a corresponding spike in ICU utilization, according to a study in the journal Critical Care Medicine. Looking at hospital discharge records of patients aged 18 to 64, researchers from at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania compared ICU utilization in Massachusetts to four non-reform states of New York, Washington, Nebraska and North Carolina. After implementing health insurance reform, the number of critically ill patients without insurance in Massachusetts dropped from 9.3 percent to 5.1 percent with no significant changes in adjusted ICU admission rates. Announcement