Medicaid is reducing poverty over time, study finds

While out-of-pocket healthcare spending pushed more than 10.5 million Americans into poverty in 2016, Medicaid helped offset this risk, according to a study published in Health Affairs.

Four things to know:

1. The research, conducted by Naomi Zewde, PhD, a postdoctoral research scientist at New York City-based Columbia University School of Social Work, and Christopher Wimer, co-director of the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia, examined whether Medicaid expansion resulted in reductions in poverty.

2. They analyzed the Current Population Survey's Annual Social and Economic Supplement data from 2010-16, using a difference-in-difference research design. The authors first evaluated how the ACA's Medicaid expansion reduced poverty by comparing poverty in expansion states after program eligibility was expanded relative to poverty in a comparison group. The comparison group comprised expansion states before they expanded Medicaid eligibility and nonexpansion states.

3. Researchers found Medicaid expansion reduced the rate of poverty among expansion states by 0.917 percentage points, or 690,000 Americans.

4. "Moreover, by simulating a counterfactual poverty rate for a hypothetical world without Medicaid coverage, we found that the program's antipoverty impact grew over the past decade independent of expansion, by shielding beneficiaries from growing out-of-pocket spending," the authors concluded. "Future expansions or retractions of Medicaid are likely to produce associated effects on poverty."

To access the full study, click here.

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