Fewer low-income residents of Kentucky and Arkansas, two poor states that expanded Medicaid in 2014, reported problems paying medical bills after the coverage expansions, especially compared with residents of Texas, which has rejected the health law.
And hospitals in Medicaid expansion states saw a marked decline in the share of patients without insurance, compared with hospitals in states that have not broadened access to Medicaid, a second study found.
“Our findings underscore the significant benefits of Medicaid expansion not only for low-income adults, but also for the hospitals that serve this population,” the authors of that study conclude.
The two studies, both published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs, come as new states consider Medicaid expansion, a key pillar of the health law that President Obama signed in 2010.
GOP resistance to Obamacare is already affecting low-income residents of those state, the new studies suggest.
In Texas, for example, the percentage of residents reporting trouble paying medical bills, skipping prescriptions or delaying care because of cost barely moved between 2013 and 2014.
By comparison, Kentucky and Arkansas saw major declines in all three measures of access to medical care after the Medicaid expansion began in 2014.
The share of residents of the two states who reported skipping a medication due to cost fell more than 10 percentage points. And the percentage of Kentucky residents who said they had trouble paying medical bills dropped by more than 14 percentage points, from 42.7% to 28.4%.
Researchers also found major gains in the share of residents who said they had a check-up in the prior year, which increased more than eight percentage points in both Kentucky and Arkansas.
And they found sizable increases in the percentage of patients with chronic medical conditions who got regular care, which increased more than 6 percentage points in the two states.
Texas, by contrast, saw a decline in the percentage of chronically ill residents who got regular care between 2013 and 2014, according to the study, which was based on a telephone survey of 5,665 low-income, working-age adults in the three states.
But hey, we sure are pro-life around here, right? Just not pro-healthy life, or at least not pro-healthy life for non-rich people. I’m sure that’s in the bible somewhere. The Chron and Daily Kos have more.