Early Reports Indicate Medicaid Expansion May Be Decreasing Hospital Debt

Early reports from providers show Medicaid expansion has decreased the amount of unpaid medical bills, bringing financial relief to hospitals and low-income households. More patients have entered hospitals with Medicaid in states that have chosen to expand it. Reports also reveal that demand for hospital and emergency room services has not increased with an influx of Medicaid patients. Analysts say broader insurance coverage is great for access to care but whether more access is good for hospital budgets depends on whether Medicaid offsets cuts to previous state hospital subsidies for low-income patients. Furthermore, the effect on increased access on overall healthcare spending depends on how well hospitals can successfully manage primary care and chronic diseases to keep Medicaid patients from expensive emergency room or hospital stays. Experts agree that more time and data are needed to understand who benefited from the new health law.

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