Medicaid Expansion Improved Diabetes Detection, Study Finds

The study, conducted by the national laboratory Quest Diagnostics, found that in states that expanded Medicaid, he number of Medicaid enrollees with newly identified diabetes rose by 23%, to 18,020 in the first 6 months of 2014, from 14,625 in the same period in 2013.

The number of new diabetes cases identified among poor Americans has surged in states that have embraced the Affordable Care Act, but not in those that have not, a new study has found, suggesting that the healthcare law may be helping thousands of people get earlier treatment for one of this country’s costliest medical conditions.

One in 10 Americans have diabetes, and nearly a third of cases have not been diagnosed. The disease takes a toll if it is caught too late, eventually causing heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure and leg and foot amputations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the disease accounts for $176 billion in medical costs annually. The poor and minorities are disproportionately affected.

The healthcare law aimed to bring many of the most disadvantaged Americans into the medical system by expanding access to Medicaid, the government insurance program for the poor. But with the release of federal health data still months away, it was impossible to know whether the new coverage was having any effect in identifying and treating critical health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Link to the complete article in The New York Times:

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