Medicaid expansion reduced preventable hospitalizations

With political battles continuing over Medicaid expansion, a new study found states that expanded Medicaid saw greater reductions than non-expansion states in hospital admissions, length of stay and hospital costs for conditions that can be managed with ambulatory care.

States that expanded coverage to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act saw a 3.5% reduction in annual “ambulatory-care sensitive” condition discharge rates, and a 3.1% drop in inpatient days in 2014 and 2015, according to the study published Monday in Health Affairs. Hospital costs dipped by nearly 3%.

The decline in discharge rates in expansion states was concentrated among chronic respiratory conditions, diabetes-related complications, and bacterial pneumonia.

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