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Study details drop of uninsured in Mich.


University of Michigan researchers have found that  Medicaid expansion in the Wolverine State under the Affordable Care Act has achieved a big drop in the number of uninsured patients seeking treatment at hospitals.

The report shows that the number of uninsured hospital patients dropped from 26,259 in 2012 to 9,093 in 2014 as the number of hospitalized patients covered by Medicaid  rose from 104,079 to 132,991. More than 610,000 people signed up for the expanded Medicaid coverage.

Interestingly,  the study showed that hospital admissions were slightly lower, down from 454,658 in 2012 to 445,161 in 2014 despite the new availability of coverage. This suggests that the wider coverage let many previously uninsured patients  get more and better preventive care from clinicians in physicians’ offices and in such clinics as Federally Qualified Health Centers.

That’a happy news  for hospitals that have traditionally had to worry about trying to cover (with the help of state and federal  money) much of the cost of uncompensated care for uninsured patients.

“It was the original intent of the Affordable Care Act and Healthy Michigan to increase access to primary care so they can take care of their health in a preventive way and before health issues get so bad that they had to be hospitalized,” said Matt Davis,  M.D., the lead author and a University of Michigan professor of internal medicine, pediatrics, public policy and public health.

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