USA Today: No Medicaid expansion could create health care gaps

Kelly Kennedy, USA TODAY 

WASHINGTON — States that have not expanded their Medicaid programs as part of the Affordable Care Act risk larger-than-ever gaps in overall health between residents of their states and those that have expanded Medicaid, a report released Wednesday shows.

Nine of the top 13 states in overall health have expanded Medicaid, while three in the lowest 12 have not expanded, according to the report by the Commonwealth Fund, a non-profit group studying U.S. health care.

“There is money on the table for every state with the potential to close the steep geographic divide,” said Commonwealth’s senior vice president, Cathy Schoen. “Notably, 16 of the states at the bottom half of the distribution have decided not to participate in Medicaid expansion.”

Of the top 25, eight states have chosen not to expand.

Researchers also fear that those discrepancies could increase as some states make gains “through Medicaid and high-quality private insurance choices in the new marketplaces, while other states lag,” according to the report. They found as much as an eight-fold difference in measures in the better-performing states than in the poorly performing states.

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