Skip to main content

Medicaid Expansion: Improves Health, Saves Lives And Gives Millions Access To Affordable Health Care

By April 8, 2019No Comments

This April, Protect Our Care is Celebrating Medicaid Awareness Month, A Nationwide Push To Highlight the Importance of Medicaid for Millions of Americans, and What’s At Stake in the Texas Lawsuit and Trump’s Renewed Calls for Repeal

Washington, DC — April is Medicaid Awareness month, and this week we’re highlighting the success of Medicaid expansion and the positive impact that increasing access to Medicaid has had for millions of Americans across the country.

Years after the Affordable Care Act opened the doors for states to expand Medicaid, the results are piling in: Medicaid expansion works. It leads to healthier people, communities, and economies. Despite the increasing disparities between states that chose to expand Medicaid and those that did not, the Trump administration and its Republican allies remain intent on decimating Medicaid expansion, and jeopardizing the health of 12.7 million Americans who depend on Medicaid expansion for coverage.


Here’s a look at how Medicaid expansion is working:

Medicaid Expansion Saves Lives By Helping People Access Treatment, Preventive Care

Research Presented At American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions Finds Medicaid Expansion Tied To Fewer Heart-Related Deaths. “Between 2010 and 2016, counties in states where Medicaid expanded had 4 fewer deaths per 100,000 residents each year from cardiovascular causes after expansion, compared with counties in non-expansion states, according to the research…’The overall results of this study are that after expansion of Medicaid in 2014, the areas in the country that did expand had a significantly lower mortality rate compared to if they had followed the same trajectory as the areas in the country that didn’t expand,’ said Dr. Sameed Khatana, a fellow in cardiovascular disease at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who was first author of the new research.” [CNN 4/5/19]

Study Published In Health Affairs Finds Low-Income People More Able To Afford Diabetes Medications And Manage Disease In Expansion States. “Low-income people with diabetes are better able to afford their medications and manage their disease in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study suggests. The Health Affairs study, released Monday afternoon, found a roughly 40 percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled for diabetes drugs in Medicaid programs of the 30 states (including Washington, D.C.) that expanded eligibility in 2014 and 2015, compared with prior years.By contrast, states that didn’t embrace the Medicaid expansion saw no notable increase.” [Kaiser Health News, 8/6/18]

Drexel University Study: Medicaid Expansion Under The ACA Increased Low-Income Patient Access To Kidney Transplants. “After states expanded Medicaid to cover more low-income individuals under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there was a significant boost in the number of chronic kidney disease patients with Medicaid coverage who were placed on the kidney transplant waiting list, according to a new study led by Drexel University researchers” [Drexel University, 6/21/18]

University of Michigan Study Finds Medicaid Expansion Improves Access To Family Planning. “Among 1,166 reproductive-age women who enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan, Michigan’s expansion of the Medicaid program for low-income adults, 1 in 3 said the expanded coverage improved access to birth control and family planning services…’Our findings suggest that the expansion provided an important service for populations with a high unmet need for family planning care,’ says lead author Michelle Moniz, M.D., M.Sc., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Michigan Medicine. ‘Insurance coverage also means that women have access to more options if they do not want to become pregnant at the current time.’…Each dollar spent on contraception is estimated to save the health care system more than $7 in return, according to a recent study from the Guttmacher Institute. About 40 to 50 percent of the 4 million live births in the U.S. every year are paid for by Medicaid.” [University of Michigan, 8/31/18JAMA Publication]

Medicaid Expansion Improves Financial Security

The Chance Of Accruing Medical Debt Is 20 Percent lower In States That Have Expanded Medicaid. “A survey comparing expansion and non-expansion states finds that the chance of accruing medical debt is 20 percent lower in expansion states. It also finds that Medicaid coverage, by reducing enrollees’ unpaid medical bills, improves their credit, leading to lower-interest mortgage, auto, and credit card loans that save them an estimated $280 per year in interest.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 10/2/18]

National Bureau Of Economic Research Analysis Finds Medicaid Expansion Led To Nearly $6 Billion Decline In Unpaid Medical Bills And To Higher Credit Scores. “ In the context of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, we estimate that insurance provision led to a $5.89 billion decline in unpaid medical bills sent to collections, to higher credit scores, and to bet38 ter credit terms valued at $670 million annually.” [National Bureau Of Economic Research, 7/31/18]

An Ohio Report On The Impact Of Its Medicaid Expansion Found Vast Majorities Of Medicaid Enrollees Said Medicaid Expansion Helped Them Hold Down Jobs, Look For Work. “Over 83 percent of employed Ohioans who were continuously enrolled in Medicaid said the program helped enable them to hold down jobs; in many cases, Medicaid allowed them to obtain treatment for health conditions that would have otherwise made working difficult. Among unemployed but continuously enrolled beneficiaries, 60 percent said the program made it easier for them to look for work.” [Pacific Standard, 8/21/18]

University Of Kansas Research Finds Medicaid Boosts Employment For People With Disabilities. “People with disabilities are much more likely to be employed in states that have expanded Medicaid coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act, new research from the University of Kansas has found. Similarly, the number of those who report not working because of a disability has greatly declined in expansion states. Neither trend happened in states that chose not to expand Medicaid.” [Healthcare Finance News, 7/23/18]

Medicaid Expansion Is An Important Tool In Addiction Recovery

Health Affairs Study Finds Medicaid Expansion Aids Addiction Recovery. “The number of people diagnosed each month with opioid use disorder nearly tripled from 2014 to 2016, the authors found. And as more people were diagnosed, more people got treatment. About one-third of people diagnosed with opioid use disorder in 2014 were prescribed buprenorphine — the leading medication-assisted therapy for opioid dependence. By 2016, that was up to 75%.” [Axios, 4/2/19]

Urban Institute Report Finds Medicaid Expansion Increases Access To Treatment For Opioid Use Disorder. “Between 2013—before the major coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act were implemented—and 2017, Medicaid spending on prescriptions for the Rapid Growth in Medicaid Spending and Prescriptions to Treat Opioid Use Disorder and Opioid Overdose from 2010 to 2017 treatment of OUD and overdose nearly tripled or more in states that expanded Medicaid by 2017, while spending in non-expansion states nearly doubled. Between 2013 and 2017, Medicaid-covered buprenorphine prescriptions nearly tripled from 1.79 million to 5.18 million, naltrexone prescriptions more than quadrupled from 99,000 to 444,000, and naloxone prescriptions rose nearly 25- fold from 5,000 to 125,000. Increases in all three prescriptions were far greater in states that had expanded their Medicaid programs before July 2016 than states that did not expand…Between 2013 and 2017, increases in per capita prescriptions were far greater in Medicaid expansion states than in non-expansion states. In addition, the highest levels of treatment prescriptions were in expansion states: more than 100 buprenorphine prescriptions per 1,000 Medicaid enrollees in 2017 compared with just over 30 prescriptions per 1,000 enrollees in non-expansion states.” [Urban Institute, February 2019]

Research Published In JAMA Confirms That Medicaid Expansion Increased Access To Opioid Treatment. “Medicaid expansion significantly increased buprenorphine with naloxone prescriptions per 100 000 county residents in expansion counties, suggesting that expansion improved access to opioid use disorder treatment. Expansion did not significantly increase the overall rate per 100 000 county residents of OPR prescriptions, but increased the population with OPRs paid for by Medicaid. This finding therefore suggests the growing importance of Medicaid in pain management and addiction prevention.” [JAMA, Saloner et. al, 8/17/18]