Study: ACA reduced disparities in healthcare access between poor and wealthy

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The ACA helped narrow the nation's socioeconomic disparities in insurance coverage, according to a study published in Health Affairs.

For the study, researchers analyzed CDC survey data for more than 1 million adults aged 18 to 64 years living across 43 states. The survey categories included health behaviors, insurance coverage status and household income, among other coverage areas.

Researchers found the gap in insurance coverage between residents of households with annual incomes less than $25,000 and households with incomes over $75,000 dropped by 46 percent between 2013 and 2015 in states that expanded Medicaid. In non-expansion states, the coverage gap fell by 23 percent.

"In its first two years of full implementation, the ACA improved healthcare access for Americans in low-income households, people who were not college graduates and the unemployed. The law's Medicaid expansion was responsible for about half of these gains," wrote the study's authors. "More research is needed to determine whether existing access gains will translate into improved health outcomes and reductions in health disparities more broadly, and to monitor future trends in access disparities in a changing policy environment."

The authors note the study is limited, as the research only accounts for the ACA's first two years of the health law's Medicaid expansion and exchanges.

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