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What We're Reading: Declining Medicaid Expansion; Medical Debt; ACA Enrollment's Strong Start

AJMC Staff

States Lose Money by Not Expanding Medicaid

A new analysis of Medicaid funding has found that red states are losing out on tens of billions of dollars by declining to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to The New York Times’ The Upshot blog, the 18 states that have not expanded Medicaid are losing out on more than $180 billion over the next decade. Texas alone could receive $42 billion. Instead, by not expanding Medicaid, Texas’ taxpayers are helping to fund treatment for people in states that did expand the program. Expanding Medicaid has also improved the financial health of patients in those states.

 

Cutting Down Medical Debt

In general, medical debt has been on the decline, but Medicaid expansion has played a big role in how much those debts have decreased. New research has found that debt levels are much higher in states that did not expand Medicaid, reported NPR. In states that didn’t expand the program, the percentage of adults with unpaid medical bills dropped from 47% to 40%, while states that did expand saw an average drop from 43% to 30%.

 

ACA Enrollment Numbers Soar Under Trump

President Donald Trump may be the best thing to have happened to the ACA to boost enrollment numbers. Under the new president, who recently eliminated the cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers and significantly cut outreach funding, enrollment is soaring compared with last year, reported CNBC. More than 600,000 people signed up for coverage on HealthCare.gov in the first 4 days, which is up 79% from the last open enrollment. The state exchanges are also reporting strong numbers, with California’s plan selections up 25% on day 1 and Washington’s exchange reporting new applications are up 50% during the first 7 days of enrollment.

 
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