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Medicaid Expansion Cuts Death Rates

Posted Jul 25 2012 9:21pm

There has always been a lot of controversy over Medicaid and how necessary it is for our country, but an interesting study has recently come out with some facts that may sway this debate.  According to Lewis Krauskopf’s article on, state expansions of Medicaid reduced adult mortality rates by over 6% when compared to states that did not broaded eligibility for their plans.

The study was released Wednesday from the New England Journal of Medicine and it may create some fierce discussions after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold President Obama’s health care law.  The ruling also left it up to states to decide whether or not to participate in the new Medicaid plan which has broader eligibility.  It would end up extending health insurance to as many as 16 million more Americans starting in 2014.

The study was headed up by Benjamin Sommers, assistant professor in health policy and economics at the Harvard School of Public Health.  They looked at three states that substantially broadened Medicaid eligibility for adults since the year 2000.  The states were New York, Maine and Arizona.  They then compared the findings to other states that did not implement expansions, including Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Nevada and New Mexico.  Adults from 20-64 years of age were examined for five years before and after the expansion using the data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Medicaid expansions were linked with a reduction in mortality from all causes in the states who implemented the plan.  This may change the landscape of Medicaid throughout America, even in states that oppose the expansion plan.

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