COLUMN: North Carolina is breaking hearts | Health and Fitness

COLUMN: North Carolina is breaking hearts | Health and Fitness

One of the best reviews of a state’s return on investment in Medicaid expansion was done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which reviewed over 1,000 separate studies. They found that in those states that adopted Medicaid expansion, total employment grew 1.3%, more than those states that did not adopt. For example, Colorado experienced 31,074 additional jobs as a result of adoption, and a growth in health care employment of 3.2%. The employment of handicapped workers went up because the employer did not have to pay their health insurance.

In North Carolina, health care providers provide about $1 billion a year in “uncompensated care” because people without insurance cannot pay for it. Insuring patients through the Medicaid expansion would pay a significant chunk of that “uncompensated care,” which would allow health care providers to survive in low-income counties.

Since this Medicaid expansion opportunity became available, three-quarters of all rural hospitals that have closed in America have been in the 12 states that rejected it.

From a patient’s point of view, after the program was adopted by most states in the union, deaths among older adults who gained insurance were reduced (depending on the state) between one-third and two-thirds of prior rates. The percentage of pregnant women covered by insurance doubled. States that have expanded Medicaid saw a 50% greater reduction in infant mortality than non-expansion states.

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