Medicaid expansion linked to lower cardiovascular mortality rates

Amid a national debate over whether or not to dissolve the Affordable Care Act entirely or keep parts of the law intact, research presented at the American Heart Association’s QCOR Scientific Sessions on April 5 suggests Medicaid expansion contributed to a significant decline in cardiovascular-related deaths in recent years.

The ACA was passed in 2010 and went into full effect in 2014, the same year many states expanded public access to Medicaid. CNN reported the present study found that between 2010 and 2016, counties in the 29 states where Medicaid expanded saw four fewer heart-related deaths per 10,000 residents after expansion compared with counties in 19 non-expansion states.

“The overall results of this study are that after expansion of Medicaid in 2014, the areas in the country that did expand had a significantly lower mortality rate compared to if they had followed the same trajectory as the areas in the country that didn’t expand,” Sameed Khatana, first author of the paper, told CNN. “It’s important to study health policy in a more quantitative manner, and I think we’re seeing an increasing number of research studies on these kinds of topics.”

Cardiovascular deaths still rose between 2010 and 2016, according to the research, but there was less of an increase in expansion states (a rise from 141.9 to 142 deaths per 1000,000 residents compared to non-expansion states’ increase from 176.1 to 180.6 per 100,000 residents).

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