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Under the Affordable Care Act, more Americans than ever before gained health care coverage through Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion became optional in 2012. Thirty-three states have opted to expand their Medicaid programs to cover more low-income and uninsured adults. Kansas remains one of 17 states that have not expanded Medicaid.
To examine health outcomes of low-income Kansans and review the potential impact of expanding Medicaid in the state, the REACH Foundation partnered with researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with support from the Commonwealth Fund. The researchers conducted a telephone survey of 1,000 low-income non-elderly adults in Kansas and compared the findings with data on low-income adults in Ohio and Indiana, both of which expanded Medicaid. The study found that low-income adults in Kansas, which has not expanded Medicaid, are uninsured at higher rates and have worse access to health care than their peers in the two comparison states. Among the specific findings:
The authors of the study, led by Benjamin D. Sommers, M.D., Ph.D., of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, produced an issue brief that outlines these findings and the potential implications for Kansas.
The Kansas research was part of a larger study of all three states, including an examination of Ohio’s more standard approach to Medicaid expansion and Indiana’s implementation of POWER health savings accounts via a Section 1115 waiver. The study found that states’ current experimental approaches to Medicaid eligibility—including requirements to pay premiums, contribute to health savings accounts, or to work—may lead to unintended consequences for patient coverage and access, such as confusing beneficiaries or dissuading some people from enrolling. A review of the effects of these approaches was published in a June 20, 2018, journal article in Health Affairs.
Read the Commonwealth Fund article
Read the Abstract
Read the Kansas Issue Brief
Download the State of Kansas Medicaid Slides
Study Contact: Benjamin D. Sommers, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Economics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health