Posted on Jun 10, 2018, 1 a.m.
Analysis of Medicaid expansion effects shows significant improvements in various health outcomes consistent with original goals of the Affordable Care Act, as published in the journal Health Affairs.
In the first peer-reviewed comprehensive analysis of the effects of Medicaid expansion researchers analyzed 77 published peer-reviewed studies and found that the expansion under the ACA was linked to increases in health coverage, use of health services, and quality of care that were consistent with original goals of Obamacare; additionally there were very few studies to show Medicaid expansion was associated with any negative consequences such as increased wait times for appointments, according to the researchers.
Medicaid is considered to be the largest source of health coverage for the USA. The District of Columbia and 32 states have opted to expand Medicaid eligibility under the ACA to nonelderly adults with incomes up to 138% of poverty level; several other states are considering expansion.
Expansions to Medicaid that occurred in individual states prior to the Affordable Care Act were excluded from the review analysis.
Increased insurance coverage regardless of income, age, race, or marital status were found to be related to Medicaid expansion by the researchers. Other findings include: health insurance gains were largest for adults without a college degree; long term and short term un-insurance rates declined; use of primary care, mental health services and preventive care among enrollees increased; as well as more low and moderate care adults had more regular source of care; and reliance on ER departments decreased.
Current best evidence on the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion suggests that the improvements to quality care and in access to care and to some degree health have occurred. Findings should be of interest to stakeholders, policy makers, and to anyone who is interested in the effects of Medicaid expansions on key metrics to the USA healthcare system according to the researchers.
Materials provided by Indiana University.
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Olena Mazurenko, Casey P. Balio, Rajender Agarwal, Aaron E. Carroll, Nir Menachemi. The Effects Of Medicaid Expansion Under The ACA: A Systematic Review. Health Affairs, 2018; 37 (6): 944 DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2017.1491