Navigation Links
Expanding Access to Medicaid Would Save Lives: Study
Date:7/25/2012

WEDNESDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a federal mandate to expand Medicaid as unconstitutional, but a new study suggests that widening access to the program would save lives.

The study, published online July 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at outcomes for three states that have already expanded access to the joint federal-state program, which helps many low-income people pay for health services.

According to the study authors, Arizona, Maine and New York each "substantially expanded adult Medicaid eligibility" before 2000 to include childless, poor adults, much as the 2010 Affordable Care Act seeks to do.

The researchers tracked state death statistics, levels of delays of medical care linked to a lack of insurance and residents' self-reported health during the five years before and after the expansion of the states' Medicaid programs.

They compared those numbers to rates from four neighboring states (Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania) that had not undertaken the same expansion of Medicaid for adults.

Overall, data on more than 429,000 people was included in the analysis.

Researchers led by Dr. Benjamin Sommers, assistant professor of health policy and economics at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, found that expansion benefitted state residents.

"State Medicaid expansions to cover low-income adults were significantly associated with reduced mortality, as well as improved coverage, access to care and self-reported health," they concluded.

Specifically, death rates fell by about 6 percent in states that expanded access to Medicaid, with older adults, nonwhites and the poor most likely to benefit. An extra 2.2 percent of the states' population gained access to health insurance, and nearly 3 percent saw reductions in delays for medical care linked to cost.

More residents said they felt better too. After Medicaid expansions in the three states, 2.2 percent more residents rated their health as "excellent" or "very good," the study found.

"The recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act ruled that states could decide whether or not they wanted to participate in the health care law's Medicaid expansion," Sommers said in a Harvard news release. "Our study provides evidence suggesting that expanding Medicaid has a major positive effect on people's health."

In a journal commentary accompanying the study, two legal experts say the research shows the benefits to states of supporting the Affordable Care Act's provision to expand Medicaid.

"Several Republican governors had made a show of their adamant refusal to expand their Medicaid programs," wrote Timothy Stoltzfus Jost of Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Va., and Sara Rosenbaum of George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in Washington, D.C.

"The [Affordable Care Act] offers no other means for covering adults with incomes below 100 percent of the poverty level," the two experts noted. "Resisting states effectively intensify the huge uncompensated burden faced by their hospitals, deprive other health care industry players of important revenues and keep their medically underserved communities from receiving an enormous economic infusion."

Not everyone agrees, however, that the expansion of a public program is the smartest means of improving access to care.

"This seems like very solid research, and encouraging results. The question remains, however, whether Medicaid expansion is the best way to get the job done," said Greg Scandlen, director of the advocacy group Consumers for Health Care Choices. "The program is already under great stress, both in financial terms and in delivering health services. Would it have been better to use the same funds to get the same people into the private market? We can't know, but it would be worth studying."

Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank, echoed those sentiments.

"These results are unsurprising, and do not imply that states should expand Medicaid," he said. "One would hope and expect that spending billions of dollars on Medicaid would save lives. The real question is whether this is the lowest-cost way of saving lives. I wonder if the authors tally the cost of those Medicaid expansions and see how much it cost per life saved."

The Harvard press release notes that Sommers "is currently working as an adviser in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, this paper was conceived and drafted while Dr. Sommers was employed at Harvard, and the findings and views in this paper do not represent the views of the Department of Health and Human Services."

More information

Visit the U.S. Supreme Court site for the official Affordable Care Act ruling.

-- E.J. Mundell

SOURCES: Greg Scandlen, director, Consumers for Health Care Choices, Hagerstown, Md.; Michael Cannon, director, health policy studies, Cato Institute, Washington, D.C.; July 25, 2012, online, New England Journal of Medicine; Harvard School of Public Health, news release, July 25, 2012


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Image share project gives patients and physicians anytime, anywhere access to medical images
2. Equal access to care helps close survival gap for young African-American cancer patients
3. Premier issue of BioResearch Open Access launched by Mary Ann Liebert Inc. publishers
4. World Health Assembly endorses new plan to increase global access to vaccines
5. FDA Approves SonixGPS Needle Guidance Technology for Vascular Access Procedures
6. Researchers offer new approach to track former prisoners access to community HIV care
7. Revised geographic adjustments could improve accuracy of Medicare payments, will not solve access, quality problems
8. Access to clinical trials drives dramatic increases in survival from childhood cancer
9. Disabled Americans Battle for Access to Hotel Pools
10. Internal medicine physician specialists release policy paper on reforming Medicaid
11. Safer kidney cancer surgery under-used for poorer, sicker Medicare, Medicaid patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Expanding Access to Medicaid Would Save Lives: Study
(Date:12/5/2016)... ... December 05, 2016 , ... A newly released study ... the reproducibility and accuracy of placing precordial electrodes with little cognitive effort and ... last 60 years, studies have shown that single electrode misplacement is one of ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... , ... December 03, 2016 , ... ... 4 transitions and many more tools allowing FCPX editors to create professional looking ... Film Studios. , Perfect Harmony contains a beautifully designed 3D environment for ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... ... 03, 2016 , ... Penrose Senior Care Auditors® was announced ... evening at the 26th Annual SMU Cox Dallas 100™ Awards Ceremony and Banquet ... for Entrepreneurship. Dallas 100™, co-founded by the Caruth Institute, honors the ingenuity, commitment ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... ... December 04, 2016 , ... Are You Concerned About Mold In Your ... experienced Indoor Air Quality Companies in VA, MD and DC, recently completed its application ... The new mold law in the district of Columbia is a good thing stated ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... ... Lori G. Cohen and Sara K. Thompson , shareholders in global law ... 21st Drug & Medical Device Litigation Conference , taking place in New York Dec. ... chairs the firm’s Pharmaceutical, Medical Device & Health Care Litigation Practice and the Trial ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... Dec. 2, 2016  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: ... for 2017 and provide updated financial guidance for 2016 ... a conference call on that day with the investment ... guidance. The conference call will begin at ... can access a live webcast of the conference call ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Dec. 2, 2016 CVS Health Corporation (NYSE: ... Day in New York City on Thursday, December 15, 2016, beginning at 8:00 ... team will provide an in-depth review of the company,s ... The company will also discuss 2017 earnings guidance during ... of the event will be broadcast simultaneously on the ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... 2016 Lianluo Smart Limited (Nasdaq: ... which develops, markets and sells medical devices and ... and international markets, recently attended the ... New Progress Forum, co-hosted by the Institute of ... , Guangdong Provincial People,s Hospital and Cardiology Department ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: