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Concept: Medicaid

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Several states have expanded Medicaid eligibility for adults in the past decade, and the Affordable Care Act allows states to expand Medicaid dramatically in 2014. Yet the effect of such changes on adults' health remains unclear. We examined whether Medicaid expansions were associated with changes in mortality and other health-related measures.

Concepts: Health care, U.S. state, Medicaid, State, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

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Despite the imminent expansion of Medicaid coverage for low-income adults, the effects of expanding coverage are unclear. The 2008 Medicaid expansion in Oregon based on lottery drawings from a waiting list provided an opportunity to evaluate these effects.

Concepts: Medicaid

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PURPOSE Under health care reform, states will have the opportunity to expand Medicaid to millions of uninsured US adults. Information regarding this population is vital to physicians as they prepare for more patients with coverage. Our objective was to describe demographic and health characteristics of potentially eligible Medicaid beneficiaries. METHODS We performed a cross-sectional study using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007-2010) to identify and compare adult US citizens potentially eligible for Medicaid under provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) with current adult Medicaid beneficiaries. We compared demographic characteristics (age, sex, race/ethnicity, education) and health measures (self-reported health status; measured body mass index, hemoglobin A1c level, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, depression screen [9-item Patient Health Questionnaire], tobacco smoking, and alcohol use). RESULTS Analyses were based on an estimated 13.8 million current adult non-elderly Medicaid beneficiaries and 13.6 million nonelderly adults potentially eligible for Medicaid. Potentially eligible individuals are expected to be more likely male (49.2% potentially eligible vs 33.3% current beneficiaries; P <.001), to be more likely white and less likely black (58.8% white, 20.0% black vs 49.9% white, 25.2% black; P = .02), and to be statistically indistinguishable in terms of educational attainment. Overall, potentially eligible adults are expected to have better health status (34.8% "excellent" or "very good," 40.4% "good") than current beneficiaries (33.5% "excellent" or "very good," 31.6% "good"; P <.001). The proportions obese (34.5% vs 42.9%; P = .008) and with depression (15.5% vs 22.3%; P = .003) among potentially eligible individuals are significantly lower than those for current beneficiaries, while there are no significant differences in the expected prevalence of diabetes or hypertension. Current tobacco smoking (49.2% vs 38.0%; P = .002), and moderate and heavier alcohol use (21.6% vs 16.0% and 16.5% vs 9.8%; P <.001, respectively) are more common among the potentially eligible population than among current beneficiaries. CONCLUSIONS Under the ACA, physicians can anticipate a potentially eligible Medicaid population with equal if not better current health status and lower prevalence of obesity and depression than current Medicaid beneficiaries. Federal Medicaid expenditures for newly covered beneficiaries therefore may not be as high as anticipated in the short term. Given the higher prevalence of tobacco smoking and alcohol use, however, broad enrollment and engagement of this potentially eligible population is needed to address their higher prevalence of modifiable risk factors for future chronic disease.

Concepts: Health care, Public health, Health insurance, Hypertension, Obesity, Blood pressure, Tobacco smoking, Medicaid

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In 2008, Oregon initiated a limited expansion of a Medicaid program for uninsured, low-income adults, drawing names from a waiting list by lottery. This lottery created a rare opportunity to study the effects of Medicaid coverage using a randomized controlled design. Using the randomization provided by the lottery and emergency-department records from Portland-area hospitals, we study the emergency-department use of about 25,000 lottery participants over approximately 18 months after the lottery. We find that Medicaid coverage significantly increases overall emergency use by 0.41 visits per person, or 40 percent relative to an average of 1.02 visits per person in the control group. We find increases in emergency-department visits across a broad range of types of visits, conditions, and subgroups, including increases in visits for conditions that may be most readily treatable in primary care settings.

Concepts: Health insurance, Control, Medicaid, Shirley Jackson

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A growing body of literature describes how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has expanded health insurance coverage. What is less well known is how these coverage gains have affected populations that are at risk for high health spending. To investigate this issue, we used prescription transaction data for a panel of 6.7 million prescription drug users to compare changes in coverage, prescription fills, plan spending, and out-of-pocket spending before and after the implementation of the ACA’s coverage expansion. We found a 30 percent reduction in the proportion of this population that was uninsured in 2014 compared to 2013. Uninsured people who gained private coverage filled, on average, 28 percent more prescriptions and had 29 percent less out-of-pocket spending per prescription in 2014 compared to 2013. Those who gained Medicaid coverage had larger increases in fill rates (79 percent) and reductions in out-of-pocket spending per prescription (58 percent). People who gained coverage who had at least one of the chronic conditions detailed in our study saw larger decreases in out-of-pocket spending compared to those who did not have at least one condition. These results demonstrate that by reducing financial barriers to care, the ACA has increased treatment rates while reducing out-of-pocket spending, particularly for people with chronic conditions.

Concepts: Health care, Pharmacology, Health insurance, Gain, Medicaid, Medical prescription, Insurance, Health insurance in the United States

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A cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the expansion of Medicaid coverage in 2014 to adults with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level (approximately $15,500 for a single adult in 2014). The proportion of these low-income adults under 65 years of age who are uninsured exceeds 40% nationally. Individual insurance is prohibitively expensive for most adults with low incomes, and employer-sponsored insurance is often unaffordable or not offered to the members of this population who work. Extending Medicaid coverage to more low-income adults can have important benefits for their access to care, health outcomes, and . . .

Concepts: Biology, Poverty, Economics, Poverty in the United States, Medicaid, Adult, Poverty threshold, Poverty by country

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Under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, drug and device manufacturers and group purchasing organizations will report to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals, and the data will be posted on a public website.

Concepts: Medicare, Health insurance, Hospital, Physician, Surgeon, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicaid, Residency

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Medicaid is an important federal-state partnership that provides health insurance for more than one fifth of the U.S. population - 73 million low-income people in 2012. The Affordable Care Act will expand Medicaid coverage to millions more. But 30% of office-based physicians do not accept new Medicaid patients, and in some specialties, the rate of nonacceptance is much higher - for example, 40% in orthopedics, 44% in general internal medicine, 45% in dermatology, and 56% in psychiatry.(1) Physicians practicing in higher-income areas are less likely to accept new Medicaid patients.(2) Physicians who do accept new Medicaid patients may use various . . .

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Health insurance, Hospital, Physician, Medicaid, Internal medicine, Specialty

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The central tenet of liver transplant organ allocation is to prioritize the sickest patients first. However, a 2007 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulatory policy, Conditions of Participation (COP), which mandates publically reported transplant center performance assessment and outcomes-based auditing, critically altered waitlist management and clinical decision making. We examine the extent to which COP implementation is associated with increased removal of the “sickest” patients from the liver transplant waitlist.

Concepts: Medicare, Liver, Decision theory, Organ transplant, 2000s music groups, Policy, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicaid

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Although health policy experts disagree on many issues, they largely agree on the shortcomings of fee-for-service payment. The inefficiency of a payment method that rewards increases in service volume, regardless of health benefit, has become practically indefensible. But replacing discrete payments for each service with bundled payment for a set of services does not simply promote efficiency; it also potentially promotes skimping on care or avoidance of costly patients. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced a large-scale demonstration of bundled payments for hospital and post-acute care services, and President . . .

Concepts: Medicare, Health economics, Health insurance, Economics, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicaid, Health insurance in the United States, Medicare and Medicaid