HealthDay News — The expansion of Medicaid is linked to an increase in diabetes diagnoses, study findings indicate.
The expansion “created an opportunity to examine the impact of Medicaid expansion on specific health metrics, such as detection of disease,” said Harvey W. Kaufman, MD, MBA, of Quest Diagnostics in Madison, N.J., and colleagues
To examine the impact of the expansion on the number of patients newly identified with diabetes among new enrollees in Medicaid, the investigators followed patients, aged 19 to 64 years, who had laboratory testing through Quest Diagnostics.
More than 215,000 patients met the definition of newly diagnosed diabetes within the first six months of 2013 (control period), compared with 218,890 patients in 2014 (study period), representing a 1.6% increase.
In the control period, the investigators identified 26,237 Medicaid-enrolled patients with new diabetes, compared with 29,673 in the study period, representing a 13% increase. During this period there was a 23% increase in the number of Medicaid-enrolled patients with newly identified diabetes in the 26 states and the District of Columbia that expanded Medicaid, compared with a 0.4% increase in the 24 states that did not expand Medicaid. The differences were similar for younger and older adults and for men and women.
“The data demonstrate the benefits of Medicaid expansion, yet nearly half of our states have chosen not to expand this benefit to their citizens. The real-world benefits and costs of Medicaid expansion merit additional research and civil debate,” said William H. Herman, MD, of the University of Michigan in an accompanying editorial.
“Effective policies must be enacted to address chronic diseases at a local, state, and federal level. This is especially true with regard to diabetes, which in the U.S. cost $245 billion in 2012 and consumed one in every 10 health care dollars.”