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New data show benefits of Michigan's Medicaid expansion

Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision as of Nov. 26, 2018

Nearly half of people covered under Michigan’s Medicaid expansion said their health improved immediately after enrolling. For those whose health improved, they were four times as likely to say that they were doing a better job at work. That’s according to a study by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. 

The study could help inform policy in five other states that will expand Medicaid in 2019, and 14 states that may start requiring Medicaid enrollees to work in return for health coverage. “Data like these will be important for states to consider as they consider what the next phase is for their state Medicaid programs, whether it's to expand Medicaid in states that haven't expanded, or for states that are considering work requirements, what are the pros and cons of that for their state,” says Dr. Renu Tipirneni, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of internal medicine at UM.

The study is based on a survey of 4,090 enrollees in Michigan’s Healthy Michigan plan, and includes in-depth responses from a smaller sample. In addition to the 47.8% who reported better physical health in the first 1-2 years of participation, 38.2% of respondents said they had better mental health, and 39.5% said their dental health improved.

Nearly half of survey respondents were employed, many of them in spite of at least one chronic medical condition. Among those who were employed, the study showed that for many being enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan improved their ability to work, and out-of-work respondents said they were better able to look for a job. Some said their improved access to health care helped them get a better job than the one they had. Among those who were not working, barriers to employment included old age, disability, illness, and caregiving responsibilities.

Catherine Shaffer joined Michigan Radio in 2014. She works in the newsroom and specializes in stories related to the life sciences, health, and technology. Catherine earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Michigan State University and a Master’s from University of Michigan. Prior to Michigan Radio, Catherine has worked as a freelance writer, mainly in focusing on biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, since 2001. She is also an award-winning fiction writer. When not at work, Catherine enjoys being in the outdoors and practicing yoga.
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