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eridani

(51,907 posts)
Sat Nov 14, 2015, 01:14 AM Nov 2015

Medicaid coverage improves access to health care and chronic disease control:

American Journal of Public Health study

http://www.pnhp.org/news/2015/november/medicaid-coverage-improves-access-to-health-care-and-chronic-disease-control-amer

Low-income Americans with Medicaid insurance have more awareness and better treatment of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, than their uninsured counterparts, a group of Harvard researchers said today. People with Medicaid are also five times more likely to see a doctor than those with no health insurance.

These are among the chief findings of a new study by a team of researchers led by Dr. Andrea Christopher, a fellow at Harvard Medical School, published today in the American Journal of Public Health. The study is based on data gathered from 4,460 poor Americans in national surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302925

From the Discussion

Our findings suggest that, nationally, Medicaid was associated with improved access to outpatient medical care, as well as awareness and control of important chronic conditions. Medicaid recipients visited health care providers much more frequently than comparable uninsured individuals, and were more likely to be aware of their hypertension and overweight. In addition, Medicaid recipients were more likely to have their blood pressure controlled, a clinical goal known to reduce all-cause mortality by as much as 17%. However, we found no differences in the diagnosis or control of diabetes, and only nonsignificant differences among those with hypercholesterolemia. We theorize that the lack of findings for diabetes may be because control requires more significant diet and lifestyle changes compared with other chronic conditions, and these changes may not be easily remedied through access to medical care.


Comment by Don McCanne of PNHP: Opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been using the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment (OHIE) to supposedly show that Medicaid does not improve health outcomes even though the study was not powered to demonstrate such. Thus this new study is important because it does show that Medicaid improves access, improves awareness of important chronic conditions, and improves control of hypertension. The OHIE trial did show that “Medicaid coverage increased health care use, improved patients’ financial security and self-reported health, lowered depression rates, and raised diabetes diagnosis rates.”

Clearly Medicaid is of benefit. However, as a chronically underfunded welfare program, Medicaid does have significant deficiencies. Last week, a UC Davis study reported that cancer care is worse for Medicaid patients than for other insured patients. The question is, what should we do about it?

Some conservatives would convert Medicaid into a block grant to the states, limiting federal contributions, likely compounding the problem of underfunding. Other conservatives would eliminate Medicaid and place everyone in high-deductible private plans, perhaps with some federal contributions to health savings accounts for low-income individuals. Narrow networks and cost sharing would surely limit access for this population.

A much better solution would be to replace our fragmented health care financing system with a single payer national health program, eliminating cost sharing and network barriers. Since the program would cover all of us, chronic underfunding for a sector of us would not be tolerated.





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Medicaid coverage improves access to health care and chronic disease control: (Original Post) eridani Nov 2015 OP
American Journal of Public Health KT2000 Nov 2015 #1

KT2000

(20,679 posts)
1. American Journal of Public Health
Sat Nov 14, 2015, 01:25 AM
Nov 2015

is a terrific journal. They don't seem to be constrained by the pharmaceutical, medical establishment and are directly connected to the betterment of health as if that is a value. JAMA, Lancet - not so much.

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