The expansion of Medicaid to most citizens has recently become a bone of contention sparking political debates concerning healthcare. While more states are pushing for the expansion to make it more accessible, it is essential to understand its impact on health outcomes for marginalized populations in America.
Despite the ongoing political debate, research from the Western University Reserve shows that its expansion resulted in early cancer detection in vulnerable populations. As a result, experts claim that the indication can be significantly improved if the program was widely available in the United States.
The research from the Western University Reserve was recently published in the American Cancer Society journal. The researchers assessed at least 12,000 people between the ages of 30-64 who had been diagnosed with different types of cancer. Besides, the diagnoses took five years from 2011-2016. Also, the diagnosed population had a chunk of insured people under Medicaid, while the other chunk was not insured.
This research also compared the health of individuals before the expansion of Medicaid and after the expansion. Based on the results, it was evident that there was earlier cancer detection after the expansion than before. As such, the expansion has realized more benefits despite the political attention it has received. Some of the benefits of Medicaid include:
Better Access to Healthcare for Vulnerable Populations
Medicaid expansion has resulted in better access to low-income families. The families can now get personal physician services, frequent checkups, and other preventive care services for chronic conditions. Indeed, the number of people getting assisted medication has surged. Also, there is better mental health care compared to the previous years. This is a true testimony that the Medicaid expansion will undoubtedly save lives.
Better Health Outcomes
The expansion of Medicaid has resulted in better health outcomes in different ways. For instance, the United States is recording less premature deaths for older adults. As such, more than 19,000 lives are saved annually. Besides, it has improved the numbers of self-reported health and the reduction in positive cases of depression in vulnerable populations. Since the older population is faced with health issues such as hypertension and diabetes, the expansion of this program has resulted in better control of the conditions.
Compared to the years before Medicaid, the detection of early-stage cancer was low. However, with the program’s adoption and expansion, the situation has improved, and cancer is being detected early. As such, preventive measures can be taken, resulting in a healthy population. Moreover, the healthcare industry has shown a reduction in misdiagnosis and inconsistent medical guidelines. This has shown that the program is indeed saving many lives, and further expansion will be beneficial.
Financial Health Security
If a country’s health improves, the federal government will spend fewer funds on health issues. This is the situation that Medicaid has brought in the United States. Besides, the larger population is not going to spend a lot of money for medical checkups and medicine. As a result, the expansion of Medicaid results in an annual reduction of medical bills of up to $1,140 for each patient. The reduction of medical bills translates to less medical debt. Therefore, people can now direct the saved funds into other necessities, thus saving lives.
Better Economic Mobility
With the expansion of Medicaid, medical expenses for low-income populations will be covered, resulting in economic mobility. With better coverage, populations are likely to spend less on medical expenses. Therefore, they will be able to access credit programs and lower interests in loans and mortgages. This means that an adult who is well covered is going to save at least $280. Some testimonies from people gaining coverage in Ohio shows that it has become easier for them to seek employment and maintain proper records with employers.
Reduction in Uncompensated Care
In 2016, the expansion of Medicaid saw a considerable reduction in uncompensated care. There was a 55 percent reduction in uncompensated care. This translates to at least $17.9 billion in the states that embraced the expansion of this program. Other states that did not uphold the program reported just an 18 percent reduction. Additionally, there was an increase in hospital budgets, mostly in marginalized areas. This shows that some funds were redirected to hospital budgets resulting in better care. The rural hospitals were the leading gainers of the expansion. Now, low-income populations can enjoy better healthcare, thus saving lives.
The Success of Medicaid Expansion
Due to the success of Medicaid expansion, many states are now adopting the program. With earlier detection of cancer in people with low income, the program’s course is clear. Recently, Oklahoma voted on the expansion of Medicaid in the state. Besides, more Americans want the program available in their backyard despite it being a politically debated topic.
With the current health crisis due to COVID-19, it is evident that Medicaid Expansion is more of a necessity than an option. Besides, the expansion is expected to go a long way to fix the systemic challenges facing the United States healthcare system. One of the main issues that the expansion will solve is medical coverage. Despite the advanced healthcare system, insurance has been a big problem in the United States for low income populations. Therefore, Medicaid will play a significant role in coverage.
While the pandemic continues to ravage huge populations around America, most people will suffer without medical care. More precisely, low-income populations are at a high risk of losing their lives if the expansion is not implemented soon. For America to come up with a unified health management system, the Medicaid expansion is going to contribute hugely. This is because more attention is directed to vulnerable populations, thus revolutionizing the country’s healthcare system.
Medicaid expansion has resulted in a more favorable outcome in the United States. As states continue to adopt the program, healthcare is expected to improve nationally. However, if legislators are going to politicize the program, America will go through a hard time, especially during this COVID-19 period. It is high time everyone upholds Medicaid expansion!