Saturday, February 15, 2014


As many as 17,000 Americans may die as a result of the refusal of 25 states to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid to cover families who live in poverty. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the City University of New York estimate that between 7,115 and 17,104 deaths will be attributable to the lack of Medicaid expansion in opt-out states.

Medicaid expansion in the opt-out states would result in 712,037 fewer persons screening positive for depression and 240,700 fewer individuals suffering catastrophic medical expenditures. Medicaid expansion in these states would have resulted in 422,553 more diabetics receiving medication for their illness, 195,492 more mammograms among women age 50-64 years and 443,677 more pap smears among women age 21-64.

The study, “Health and Financial Harms of 25 States’ Decision to Opt Out of Medicaid Expansion” by Sam Dickman, David Himmelstein, Danny McCormick, and Steffie Woolhandler, was published on the blog (1/30).

In Texas, the largest state opting out of Medicaid expansion, the researchers found 2 mln people who would otherwise have been insured will remain uninsured due to the opt-out decision. Medicaid expansion in Texas would have resulted in 184,192 fewer depression diagnoses, 62,610 fewer individuals suffering catastrophic medical expenditures, and between 1,840 and 3,035 fewer deaths.

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