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KFF Brief Highlights Medicaid Expansion Benefits

Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has improved health care coverage, access to care, and economic outcomes, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) concludes in a June 20 issue brief.

For the brief, researchers examined the findings of 61 studies, including peer-reviewed studies, free-standing reports, government reports, and white papers. All of the studies were published between January 2014 and May 2016.

Overall, the studies showed significant coverage gains as a result of ACA Medicaid expansion. Researchers also found that expansion improved access to and use of care among low-income populations. In addition, the studies revealed that states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA experienced positive economic outcomes, including budget savings, revenue gains, and better economic growth.

However, the brief noted that some studies identified challenges related to Medicaid expansion, including a shortage of providers in some areas to treat the newly eligible Medicaid population.

KFF concluded that Medicaid expansion under the ACA is a “valuable opportunity” for the 19 states that have yet to expand eligibility for the program. However, researchers noted that further study is necessary to further assess and understand the effects of expansion, particularly on health outcomes. Additional research also will be necessary to understand the economic effects as states begin paying a portion of the cost of expansion.

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About the Author

Michelle Rosenfeld is senior writer/editor at America's Essential Hospitals.