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Study: Ambulance response times increased under Affordable Care Act

Ambulance times slowed by almost two minutes after the Affordable Care Act was implemented

By EMS1 Staff

WASHINGTON — A study revealed that ambulance response times increased after the Affordable Care Act was put into place.

Washington Examiner reported that ambulances took almost two minutes longer after more people gained insurance and began using medical services, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

To perform the study, researchers looked at data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System from 2010 to 2015 to determine if a higher demand for medical resources was a result of more insurance coverage.

“Expanding health insurance coverage should, in theory, increase the amount of medical care demanded by reducing its out-of-pocket price,” the study noted.

The study concluded that response times “increased substantially” after the Affordable Care Act was implemented.

“We estimate that the expansions of private and Medicaid coverage under the ACA combined to slow ambulance response times by an average of 19%,” The study said. “We conclude that, through extending coverage to individuals who, in its absence, would not have availed themselves of emergency medical services, the ACA added strain to emergency response systems.”

The study also said that EMS agencies could still improve strategies to accommodate a higher demand.

“In the long-run, providers could, in theory, respond to increased demand by employing more EMS [providers] and ambulances,” researchers said.