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Medicaid expansion increased low income patients’ coverage and use of healthcare, study finds

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2281 (Published 21 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2281
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. Seattle

Adults on low incomes who live in US states that have expanded Medicaid eligibility have reported having higher rates of insurance, improved quality of coverage, and greater use of healthcare services than those who live in states that have not expanded the program, a new study has found.1 They did not, however, report improved health, the researchers said.

In order to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance, the 2010 Affordable Care Act mandated that states open Medicaid—the state run health insurance plan for the poor and disabled—to all adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level, about $16 000 (£11 123; €14 084) a year for an individual.

However, in 2012 the Supreme Court gave states the option of not expanding their programs. As a result, when the Medicaid expansion program was implemented in 2014, 24 Republican led states chose not to expand their programs.

This allowed researchers …

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