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Study: States that expanded ACA saw drop in ICU admissions


A new study from the University of Michigan says states that expanded their Medicaid programs saw a drop in intensive care admissions, compared to states that did not.

Researchers looked at data from all adult hospital discharges from 2012 through 2014 in Washington and New Jersey -- which expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act -- and North Carolina, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, which did not. 

They found a 3.7 percent drop in ICU admissions for preventable conditions in the three states that expanded Medicaid compared to the two that didn't.

Researchers identified a set of conditions for which hospitalization may be prevented through outpatient intervention. According to lead study author Andrew Admon, that list of conditions includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, and complications of diabetes. 

In his work as a physician in the ICU, Admon says he noticed a lot of patients being admitted for illnesses that could have been prevented, if they were connected with outpatient care. "Because one of the goals of the Affordable Care Act was to increase access to outpatient care for uninsured and underinsured patients, we wondered whether this actually translated into fewer ICU admissions for preventable conditions," says Admon. 

The study also found that the number of uninsured patients feel from 12.7 percent to 4.5 percent in the states that expanded Medicaid.

The results of the study suggest that Medicaid expansion was associated with an increase in insured patients and a decrease in the use of ICU care among patients hospitalized with preventable conditions. 

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