Report: Increased Medicaid access improves outcomes

 

States that expand Medicaid coverage under ObamaCare might leave those that don’t behind, according to a new report.

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The Commonwealth Fund released a report Tuesday analyzing patient care outcomes and healthcare costs in the five years before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) fully went into effect. It found states that took steps to increase access to Medicaid and private health insurance had citizenry with better health outcomes than those that didn’t.

Republicans have argued the ACA and expansion of Medicaid will put more pressure on the healthcare system, result in worse health outcomes for patients and decrease quality of care. However, the new report suggests otherwise.

“To the extent that some states take the lead in expanding health coverage — through Medicaid and high-quality private insurance choices in the new marketplaces — while other states lag, we may see a widening rather than a narrowing of health outcomes and quality of care,” say authors of the report. “Conversely, if many states seize on new federal opportunities and flexibility for creative action and learn from each other, we could hope for accelerated gains in the years ahead.”

Now that the ACA is law, Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal says it has the potential to “level the playing field” for all states if they take full advantage of the law, including expanded access to Medicaid.