Researchers at the Harvard University School of Public Health have recently released the results of a study which show that states that have expanded their Medicaid coverage provisions have a lower death rate than neighbor states which did not.
The study used information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to compare death rates in New York, Maine, and Arizona, as well as their neighboring states, in 2001 and 2002. During those years the three states expanded their Medicaid coverage to include more needy, disabled, and elderly people. Following the expansion, death rates in those three states were an average of 6.5% lower for people between the ages of 20 and 64 than they were in surrounding states.
The research comes as some state governors and legislatures express their intention not to implement the Affordable Care Act’s expanded Medicaid provisions. Though the Supreme Court recently declared the law was constitutional, it also declared that the penalty provisions the law had in place which would have penalized states that did not expand Medicaid were not allowable. The ruling allows individual states to choose to either adopt the expansion provisions or opt-out of them.
Though the California Medi-Cal program has already begun expanding its coverage requirements in anticipation of the 2014 deadline, it’s unclear if the expansion have had the same effect here as expansions did in other states.