Fewer Uninsured Are Going To The Hospital In States That Expanded Medicaid

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May 12, 2014 4:05 p.m.

With Obamacare’s coverage expansion fully underway, health care providers have started to notice changes. The Washington Post reported on Monday that hospitals operating in states that expanded Medicaid under the law are seeing notably fewer uninsured patients.

Wonkblog’s Jason Millman delved into earnings calls for publicly traded hospitals and noticed the trend. In expanding states, the number of uninsured people that hospitals saw was going down significantly. But in non-expanding states, the shift was much less pronounced, if it was occurring at all.

Hospital Corporation of America executives said uninsured admissions dropped 29 percent in states that expanded Medicaid, but actually increased by 5.9 percent in non-expanding states.

Community Health Systems reported that self-pay admissions — frequently uninsured — fell 28 percent in Medicaid-expanding states, while their self-pay emergency room visits declined by 16 percent in those states but rose in states that declined to expand Medicaid.

Finally, Tenet Healthcare detected a 33 percent drop in its uninsured visits in expanding states, but a 2 percent bump in non-expanding states.

Those drops in uninsured visits were typically paired with an increase in Medicaid-paid visits, up to 22 percent, in expanding states.

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