Yesterday, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported lower cardiovascular mortality among middle-aged adults in states that expanded Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) compared to states that did not.
Colorado, along with 28 other states included in the study, experienced a “smaller increase” in cardiovascular mortality rates in middle-aged adults when compared to states that did not expand Medicaid.
Colorado expanded its Medicaid program in 2014 giving more residents more options for health coverage. Medicaid.gov reports, since Sept. 2013 there were 506,763 new enrollments in Health First Colorado, formerly Colorado Medicaid.
“Compared with counties in Medicaid non-expansion states, counties in expansion states had a greater decrease in the percentage of uninsured residents at all income levels,” states the report.
There are still 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid benefits. These “non-expansion” states experienced a greater increase in cardiovascular mortality than “expansion” states.
Due to the limitations of an observational methodology, the study concluded there is not a direct causal link between cardiovascular mortality and Medicaid expansion.
However, with heart disease being the number one cause of death in the U.S., the results of JAMA Network’s new study “may be an important consideration for states debating expansion of Medicaid eligibility,” the study concludes