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Study Shows That Medicaid Expansion States Fare Better in Heart Health

The Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] and its Medicaid expansion provisions have substantially reduced the number of uninsured in America and the gains are holding up despite the Trump Administration's efforts to undermine the law.

Forbes: "In the first six months of 2018, 28.5 million Americans were uninsured — 20.1 million fewer than 2010, the year the Affordable Care Act was signed into law by then-President Barack Obama, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

The gains have not been even across the country, however, because some states have declined to expand Medicaid.

Forbes: In the first six months of 2018, adults aged 18–64 in states that expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income residents were more likely to be insured than those residing in non-expansion states. For states that expanded coverage the uninsured rate was 9.1 percent compared to 18.1 percent in the states that did not.

Now that we have almost a decade under our belts with Obamacare and Medicaid expansion, researchers are attempting to determine how the legislation has impacted the nation's health; has greater access to health insurance translated to better health outcomes for Americans? And, have individuals in states that expanded Medicaid fared better than those in states which declined?

We reported last week that two separate studies led by researchers at Yale and Johns Hopkins University found that thousands of cancer patients have benefited from the passage of the Affordable Care Act. And a plethora of recent studies have identified other positive results from Medicaid expansion.

JAMA: "...Medicaid expansion has been associated with improvements in the management of diabetes, increased use of cardioprotective medications, and access to preventive care."

Sameed Ahmed M. Khatana, of the University of Pennsylvania and team of researchers have now published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association [JAMA] that describes their research into the impact Medicaid expansion has had on the nation's cardiovascular health.

Specifically, they wanted to determine if "the expansion of Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act [has] been associated with any differences in cardiovascular mortality rates?"

They found that expanding Medicaid eligibility did lower cardiovascular related deaths substantially.

JAMA: "Age-adjusted cardiovascular mortality rates for residents aged 45 to 64 years were significantly lower in counties in expansion states compared with counties in nonexpansion states between 2010 ... and 2013."

... "This study shows an association between Medicaid expansion and differences in cardiovascular mortality rates between expansion and nonexpansion states for middle-aged adults. Given the high burden of cardiovascular risk factors among individuals without insurance and those with lower socioeconomic status, these results may be a consideration as policymakers debate further changes to eligibility and expansion of Medicaid."

In the 2018 mid-term elections, "red" states Idaho, Nebraska and Utah voted to expand Medicaid, but there are still about a dozen states with Republican legislatures holding out. As additional research points to the benefits of Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, it's going to get more difficult for conservatives to convince their citizens that they shouldn't get on board.

#news #research #ACA #healthcareinsurance

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