Published: Jul 02, 2010 11:18 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 02, 2010 8:18 AM EDT

CHICAGO (AP) - Emergency rooms are the only choice for patients

who can't find care elsewhere. They may grow even more crowded

under the nation's new health law.

That may come as a surprise to those who thought getting 32

million more people covered by health insurance would ease ER


But experts predict a shortage primary care doctors will force

many newly insured patients to visit emergency rooms for their

health care.

That's happening now in Massachusetts where a 2006 law requires

insurance for almost everyone. ER visits there are continuing to


Many ERs closed during the 1990s, leaving fewer to handle the

load. American College of Emergency Physicians president Dr. Angela

Gardner says the nation is starting with crowded ERs and things may

only get worse.