Medicaid Expansion Would Reduce Mortality Rates

Many lives could be saved if states that are currently opposed to expanding their Medicaid programs agree to do so.

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Research shows a strong connection between mortality rates and insurance status: The uninsured are more likely to have poor health and higher mortality rates than those with insurance. People without insurance are less likely to receive preventive services and more likely to delay or go without necessary doctors’ visits, prescription medicines, and other treatments that reduce unnecessary morbidity and premature death. As a result, this group has poorer health outcomes, a lower quality of life, and more premature deaths. The uninsured are also at greater risk of death following a trauma, heart attack, or stroke.

A study—“Mortality and Access to Care among Adults after State Medicaid Expansions”—published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year analyzed the effects of Medicaid expansion on adult mortality in several states and found a connection between access to Medicaid and reduced mortality. This study underscores the importance of the current debate that is taking place in many states about whether to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.

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