August 5, 2021

Medicaid expansion reduces uninsured surgical hospitalizations, financial burden

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study from Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, finds that Medicaid expansion was associated with a reduction in uninsured surgical hospitalizations.

Researchers analyzed state-level data across 44 states and patient-level data across four states, and they compared hospitalizations in expansion and non-expansion states.


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Uninsured surgery patients were typically admitted through the emergency department, and 99% of them were associated with financially catastrophic charges.

In states that expanded Medicaid, the population rate of uninsured surgical discharges was lower, at 7.85 per 100,000. Medicaid expansion also was associated with a 6.2% reduction in the share of such hospitalizations.

The researchers note that in 2019 alone, adoption of Medicaid expansion could have prevented more than 50,000 cases of catastrophic financial burden resulting from uninsured surgical procedures.

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