President Obama at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia (Getty Images)
ATLANTA -- When the Affordable Care Act goes into place next Tuesday, almost 2 million uninsured Georgians will start shopping for health insurance.
That could impact emergency rooms at hospitals like Grady Memorial, where one out of every three patients is uninsured. Private doctors and clinics will also feel the impact.
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Atlanta's Grady Hospital has one of the busiest emergency rooms in the country. However, starting next week Obamacare could change that.
"One of the key goals of the Affordable Care Act is to help patients get the appropriate care in the appropriate location and to not be so dependent on emergency departments for what may seem to be primary care," said John Haupert, President and CEO of Grady Hospital.
And with the new law, Haupert says far more patients will have insurance and can be treated in clinics and at doctors' offices and not in hospital emergency rooms.
But Doctors say that that will put more pressure on private medical practices.
"Practically, patients with insurance will most likely add to our waitlist which unfortunately may have an impact on our ability to provide the care that we want to provide," said Dr. Jamie Wong of the Jankins Clinic, Atlanta.
Wong says it won't cut down on time spent with patients, but it will impact the bottom line and force his Clinic to add more doctors.
"Our revenue may go up just because of more patients but per patient wise it will go down and so our costs will go up as well," Wong said.
"A lot of us are struggling with this and with what will happen in a few days on October l, and with what will happen on January l," Wong added.
A big question remains as to whether emergency rooms like Grady will empty out while private clinics and doctors' offices get overwhelmed.
It's too early to tell but a lot will depend on how the health care plan is managed and how patients are diagnosed. That will become clear after the new health coverage kicks in after January 1.