Medicaid Expansion Is Broadly Beneficial, Studies Show

Sep 3, 2019

As Idaho lawmakers continue to debate how the state should pay for its voter-approved Medicaid expansion, hundreds of studies have shown many benefits to the program.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has found increased coverage under the expansion has led to more early-stage cancer diagnoses, more access to mental health treatment and savings to states in other areas of the budget – like the criminal justice system.

“Medicaid expansion seems to have really improved not only coverage, but also access to care,” said Jennifer Tolbert with Kaiser Family Foundation.

The organization came to these conclusions after distilling 324 studies conducted over the past five years.

Tolbert says the survey also found people have lost insurance coverage in states that have tacked on work requirements.

“It may be that they, in fact, are working or are eligible for the exemption, but they simply don’t understand the rules and so therefore are losing coverage as a result of that.”

Idaho is in the process of asking the federal government’s permission to implement its own set of work requirements.

One thing that isn’t clear, is whether Medicaid expansion has helped cut the number of pricey emergency room visits when patients could have gone to an urgent care clinic.

Costs to the state for Medicaid expansion are expected to total $105 million over the next 10 years.

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