The Expansion of Medicaid Coverage
According to recent research, states which expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act saw a significant increase in rates of health insurance among low-income adults compared with states that did not expand the program. Though a key part of the Obamacare legislation was the expansion of Medicaid in every state, a U.S. Supreme Court decision allowed states to decide whether or not to expand the program. Because of this, only 26 states and Washington D.C. had expanded Medicaid in 2014, the first year of the provision. This allowed for a natural experiment to take place. Researchers were allowed to compare changes in health insurance coverage, access to medical care, and the state of health for low-income adults in states that expanded their programs versus ones that didn't.
What The Studies Showed
When comparing low-income adults across states that expanded Medicaid and those in states that didn't, research conducted in 2014 showed that health insurance coverage increased 7.4% and Medicaid coverage increased 10.5%. The quality of coverage in participating states increased 7.1% compared to states that didn't expand their coverage. Other statistics showed increases in visits to the doctor's office, overnight hospital stays, and diagnoses of diseases such as diabetes.
What Does This Mean?
From this study, we can see that states that have accepted the expansion of Medicaid coverage have yielded positive results for their residents. Because more things are covered and are more affordable to the common man, more individuals are willing to visit the doctor for their ongoing problems, resulting in more diagnoses and treatment. This seems like a win-win situation for the patient as well as the doctor. In a day and age where other countries practice free healthcare, it's great to see that the United States is making strides to provide affordable health care for everyone. With the Supreme Court decision allowing states to do as they please, the progress has not been as successful as it could've been, but we should remain positive and look ahead to the future.
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