New Study: Low-Income Adults Support Medicaid Expansion, View Program Favorably

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A <a href="/publications/journal-article/2014/oct/low-income-residents-three-states-view-medicaid-equal-or">new study</a> of low-income adults in three states that are taking different approaches to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion shows overwhelming majorities favor expanding eligibility for the program and view its coverage as equal to, or better than, private health insurance.<br /><br />
Based on a survey conducted by Harvard researchers, the study, which focused on Arkansas, Kentucky, and Texas, finds that nearly 80 percent of nonelderly adults with low household income—below 138 percent of poverty—favor the health reform law’s Medicaid expansion. In fact, approximately two-thirds of low-income adults who were uninsured said they plan to apply for either Medicaid or subsidized private coverage in 2014. Many respondents had chronic conditions or poor health status, suggesting they might benefit greatly from enhanced access to care.<br />
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Kentucky has expanded eligibility for Medicaid, while Arkansas is using Medicaid dollars to purchase private health insurance for eligible residents through its insurance marketplace. Texas has yet to move forward on expansion.<br />
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In a <a href="/blog/2014/low-income-americans-and-health-reform-unmet-needs-significant-opportunities">related blog post</a>, study coauthor Benjamin D. Sommers of the Harvard School of Public Health discusses his team’s research and emphasizes the value of expanding Medicaid to low-income populations. A number of large studies conducted over multiyear periods “leave little doubt that expanded insurance coverage helps improve the lives of low-income adults—and likely helps them live longer,” Sommers writes. Read the article summary and blog post