New research presented at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting (ARM) finds Medicaid expansion in Michigan seems to have improved individuals’ ability to get and keep a job while health savings accounts in Arkansas showed limited participation and significant programmatic costs. Another nationwide study found little progress in Medicaid expansion’s ability to lower hospital costs.
“As the new congress and administration consider fundamental changes to the largest health program in the nation, an examination of Medicaid innovation is more important than ever,” said Enrique Martinez-Vidal, AcademyHealth vice president of State Policy and Technical Assistance. “Medicaid policies have far-reaching effects into the community and the research presented at this year’s Annual Research Meeting highlights how Medicaid can affect change in areas as broad as whole state economies and as narrow as specific enrollees’ tendency to shop for value.”
Key studies at this year’s ARM include:
- The Impact of Michigan’s Medicaid Expansion on Low-Income Enrollees’ Functional Status, Ability to Work, and Employment
Researchers in Michigan found the state’s Medicaid expansion program had a positive effect on enrollees’ ability to seek and maintain employment. Renuka Tipirneni, M.D., M.Sc., a clinical lecturer in the University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, noted the results have long term implications beyond the enrollees themselves, but also for their communities, and the economies of states who expanded Medicaid.
- Arkansas Experience with Health Savings Accounts in a Medicaid Expansion Population
Research from Joseph Thompson, M.D., M.P.H, president of Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, and colleagues examined Arkansas’ Medicaid policy that encouraged those above the poverty line to make contributions to “health independence accounts” and avoid cost sharing for medical services. The policy was meant to serve as a financial incentive for low-income individuals to become more cost-conscious. The study found limited participation and suggests weighing the value of the experience of individuals against the operational costs of such efforts.
- State Medicaid Expansion and Hospital Financial Status
While proponents of Medicaid expansion anticipated a reduction in uncompensated care costs for hospitals, researchers from Northeastern University found expansion also increased Medicaid payment shortfalls substantially offsetting the reductions in uncompensated care costs. Gary Young, J.D., Ph.D., director of the Northeastern University Center for Health Policy and Healthcare Research, and colleagues analyzed data from more than 1,500 hospitals making the study the most current and comprehensive analysis of Medicaid expansion on hospital costs.
For more information about featured studies, please visit academyhealth.org/arm/pressroom.