Commentary

This is news? Study: Closing the coverage gap improves access and health outcomes

A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health confirmed the obvious facts that our Governor and legislature continue to ignore: when uninsured people get health care coverage, they enjoy improved health care access, fewer financial barriers to care, and better health outcomes.

Over a two-year period between 2013 and 2015, researchers compared the health care experiences of consumers living in two Medicaid expansion states with those of residents in a non-expansion state. In 2014, both Arkansas and Kentucky accepted federal funding to provide coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income people as called for by the Affordable Care Act. On the other hand, Texas—like North Carolina—has thus far left its residents in the coverage gap, where they’re too poor to qualify for financial help on the Marketplace but make too much to qualify for Medicaid.

When Arkansans and Kentuckians gained health coverage through Medicaid expansion, they were more likely than their Texan counterparts to have a personal physician and to access preventive care through an annual checkup. Instead of being forced into the emergency room for their non-emergency primary care needs, insured patients in Arkansas and Kentucky got appropriate care at the right time and at a lower cost. On the other hand, Texans were more likely to rely on the high-cost ER as their usual source of health care. Being uninsured limited their access to a primary care provider, costing both these individuals and the larger health care system dollars that would be more wisely invested into closing the coverage gap.

Not only does expansion help increase health care system efficiency, residents in Medicaid expansion states reported improved health in comparison with their non-expansion state counterparts. What’s more, they experienced fewer financial obstacles to accessing the health care services they needed. Right now, Texans in the coverage gap are more likely to forego necessary medical care and skip out on prescription drugs because of cost concerns.

Day after day, month after month, and now year after year, the evidence keeps pouring in: Medicaid expansion would be a boon to half a million North Carolinians’ physical and financial health, and it would create jobs and boost the economy. What is Governor McCrory waiting for?

Check Also

Skimpy health insurance plans & pre-existing conditions are back under new Trump rule

Today the Trump administration issued a final rule ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

North Carolinians were presented with more than a dozen congressional maps by Tuesday night and had [...]

After a weeks-long storm of investigations, leaks and accusations of unethical behavior on North Car [...]

When it began in 1919, it was “Armistice Day” — a celebration of the end of World War I. It became a [...]

Peter Romary worked for UNC board member Tom Fetzer, but claimed connections to Senate leader Phil B [...]

“The hymn in church yesterday,” Dan Gerlach, the embattled former ECU interim chancellor, tweeted Su [...]

Back in the early 1990’s, the late and sorely missed Bob Hensley – a talented, feisty and frequently [...]

The post Berger on shaky ground appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Today marks 100 days since I filed an official request with the Department of Public Instruction to [...]