A new report from the White House outlines the major benefits of the Medicaid expansion for the states that opted to extend the new ACA coverage. The paper marshals the best available data and evidence, and highlights improved access to care, better health outcomes and longer life expectancy, greater financial security, a higher standard of living, better state economies, and healthier and productive workers.
New Medicaid enrollees have greater access to care, including preventive care, with an estimated 609,000 beneficiaries able to get an annual cholesterol check. Another 626,000 would also receive this test if all states expanded their Medicaid programs. In fact, another estimate shows that expanded Medicaid coverage prevented 5,200 deaths annually, with another 5,000 potentially avoided if all states opted in.
Another important piece of health coverage is households’ financial security. Medicaid coverage has prevented 594,000 people from difficulty paying bills because of medical costs, and if all states expanded their programs, they would prevent 611,000 more people from having that trouble.
States that opted into the expansion have reaped substantial economic benefits as well. Billions of dollars in new federal funding—roughly $4.4 billion in lower uncompensated care costs—continue to flow into their economies through their health care systems. New beneficiaries have lower medical costs, and they can dedicate more of their household income to purchasing other goods and services, which boosts states’ economies. Providers also have a larger and more reliable payment source. Further, the states that have not expanded their programs would have $4.5 billion less in uncompensated care costs.
Importantly, workers newly enrolled in Medicaid have greater access to needed care, which could allow them to be healthier and improve productivity on the job. An increase in worker productivity could also provide boost in economic activity and lift states’ economies. In sum, recent research demonstrates that the benefits of Medicaid expansion are both wide-ranging and sizeable. As more and more states choose to expand their programs, their residents and economies could see these benefits as well.