Medicaid expansion pays big health dividends

States with expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act are seeing less heart disease deaths and what this shows about preventive medical care.

Medicine published an interesting article looking at how Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has resulted in fewer heart disease deaths. The study found only an association rather than a cause-and-effect, but it can help policymakers measure the impact of Medicaid expansion. Research showed an average of 4 fewer deaths from heart disease per 100,000 people in counties with Medicaid expansion. In real terms, that’s about 2,000 middle-aged adults who are still alive because of these changes.

We found this article fascinating because of how Medicaid expansion is helping our workers’ compensation clients. It is no secret that healthier people are less likely to get hurt on-the-job. They also tend to recover quicker when an accident occurs and have fewer permanent restrictions. Studies have shown that health and wellness programs result in less workers’ compensation costs. A healthy workforce is good for business!

Michigan lawmakers agreed in 2013 to accept federal dollars under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid coverage for individuals earning up to 138% of the federal poverty limit. More than 600,000 people in Michigan have signed up for this insurance coverage and it has resulted in an estimated 30,000 new jobs. It has been a great success and helped some of the most vulnerable in our state.

Many of our clients are in trouble when their workers’ compensation claims are disputed. They have no way to get medical treatment and cannot afford to purchase health insurance on their own. Medicaid expansion allows these individuals to seek medical treatment while their workers’ compensation case is pending. It also allows them a way to get proof that a medical condition is indeed work-related. Medicaid shares in any recovery from workers’ compensation and gets paid back for money it laid out. When less than a full recovery is made, half of the net settlement goes back to Medicaid.

People who need medical attention do not simply go away because they are not covered under workers’ compensation. Medical costs get shifted to other payers, which results in higher insurance premiums and greater taxes for everybody. Medicaid expansion allows these individuals to get needed medical care and hold workers’ compensation responsible for paying its obligations.

Unfortunately, there have been several attempts to derail Medicaid expansion. Republican lawmakers are seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Lifetime caps have also been suggested. A work requirement was also signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder that makes it harder for our disabled clients.

It is our hope that Michigan lawmakers continue to see the value of a healthy workforce. Employers must also not be allowed to shift costs away from workers’ compensation and on to other payers.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 201-9497 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

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