Medicaid expansion program lowers mortality rate in low-income adults

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that expanding the Medicaid program to cover low-income adults significantly lowered mortality in this group, and also improved coverage, access to care and self-reported health status.

For the study, researchers examined the mortality rate among low-income adults between the ages of 20 and 64 in Maine, New York and Arizona, which have all expanded coverage since 2000, and compared the rate to neighboring states that have not expanded coverage. 

Key findings:

  • Low income adults in the states with the Medicaid expansion saw a 6.1 percent reduction in mortality.
  • The decline in mortality was especially pronounced among older individuals, minorities and residents of the poorest counties.
  • The study also found improved coverage, access to care and self-reported health for those in the expanded Medicaid program.

(Sources: New England Journal of Medicine, http://www.nejm.org/, July 2012; Kaiser Health News, http://capsules.kaiserhealthnews.org/, July 26, 2012)