Thursday, January 17News That Matters

Study: Poor more likely to forgo medical care in states without Medicaid expansion

Low-income people in states that expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare were less likely to forgo needed medical care due to costs than those living in states that did not expand Medicaid, according to a new study.

The study from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, finds that 20 percent of low-income people in non-Medicaid expansion states did not get needed medical care in the past 12 months due to costs. That figure was less than half — 9 percent — in states that did expand the program.


The Affordable Care Act allows states to expand eligibility for Medicaid, the health insurance program for those with limited income, up to 138 percent of the poverty line, about $35,000 for a family of four.

However, 17 Republican-led states have rejected the expansion, often due to concerns about costs, although supporters point out that the federal government picks up 90 percent of the tab.

Next month’s election could bring Medicaid expansion to four additional states due to initiatives that will be on the ballot in Utah, Nebraska, Idaho and Montana.

“Low-income adults in expansion states were less likely to report having any unmet medical needs compared with those in non-expansion states,” the GAO report finds.

Eighteen percent of low-income people in non-Medicaid expansion states said they needed but could not afford prescription medication in the past 12 months, compared to 10 percent in Medicaid expansion states.

In expansion states, 82 percent of low-income people had a usual place to go to get medical care, compared to 68 percent in nonexpansion states.  

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