Medicaid Expansion in US Cuts Death Rates
A medical journal report released on Wednesday indicates that, the states that expand their Medical programs under President Barack Obama's health care law had lower death rates in low income families.
The three state study found that, mortality in New York, Maine and Aizona dropped by 19.6 deaths per 100,000 adults, a 6.1 percent decrease over 10 year period, when Medicaid coverage was expanded.
Till date Medicaid spoke of just budget and states, but this is the first time a statistical study is conducted by the Harvard researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine. The lead author of the study was Benjamin Sommers, an assistant professor in health policy and economics at the Harvard School of Public Health who is temporarily working as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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The study clearly indicated that 176 adults covered under expanded Medicaid, through which one death per year would be avoided.
''Policymakers should be should be aware that major changes in Medicaid - either expansions or reductions in coverage - may have significant effects on the health of vulnerable populations,'' wrote the researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Medicaid that has become the backbone of the country's health care safety net, is a federal program administered by states for the low-income and disabled, providing health coverage for about 60 million people. Today, Medicaid provides coverage for almost 29 million children and pays for approximately half of all long-term care costs. In 2014 Medicaid will be significantly expanded. The new law assigned Medicaid a major role in expanding coverage, accounting for about half the 30 million uninsured people expected to gain insurance as a result of the health overhaul.
The expansions also led to decreased rates of uninsurance, lower rates of delayed care because of costs, and an increase in the rate of people reporting their health status as "excellent" or "very good".
Sommers concluded saying, "The takeaway is that state expansions of Medicaid coverage to adults appear to be effective at improving both access to care and health for low-income Americans,"